CARE in Northern Ireland believes that secure, loving marriage and family life relationships are crucially important, benefiting individuals, families and society at large. CARE in Northern Ireland works to see policies and laws implemented that support marriage and family life.
CARE in Northern Ireland believes that marriage between a man and a woman is good for the family and therefore good for society. Our faith tells us that marriage is a high calling that should be respected and honoured. The book of Hebrews states that;
“Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure.”
Redefinition of marriage
CARE in Northern Ireland supports marriage as a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. Consequently CARE, like many other religious and other groups, stood against the redefinition of marriage by the UK Parliament (2013) and in the Scottish Parliament (2014). In May 2015 the Republic of Ireland also voted in favour of the redefinition of marriage. CARE was saddened and disappointed by these results which alter the fundamental definition of marriage as an exclusive relationship between one man and one woman for life.
Five motions were brought to the Northern Ireland Assembly backing same sex marriage during the 2011-2016 Assembly term. They were brought every 6 months since 2012 by MLAs from Sinn Fein, the Alliance and Green Parties. Each has failed. On the first four occasions this was by a simple majority against the motion. On the last occasion, sadly, for the first time there was a majority in favour of the motion, albeit of just one, but it was prevented from passing by a petition of concern and the lack of cross community support. While 100% of the nationalist MLAs who voted supported the motion, 93% of the unionist MLAs who voted, voted against the motion.
During the recent short-lived Assembly term, Sinn Fein sought to bring forward a consultation to introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. This consultation was blocked at the Executive table by the DUP. A number of MLAs from Sinn Fein, the SDLP and Alliance also sought to introduce a private members bill to introduce same-sex marriage. With the collapse of the Assembly, these efforts failed.
In any new Northern Ireland Assembly it is very likely that further attempts will be made to redefine marriage. CARE in Northern Ireland will continue to oppose the introduction of same-sex marriage in the Province and to defend the current law in Northern Ireland which is the only part of these islands to retain the traditional definition of marriage.
(In the context of the same sex marriage votes, during the 2011-16 session there were concerning developments with regard to religious liberty for those who believe that the current definition of marriage should be maintained in the context of the ongoing Asher’s case. For more information see our page on religious freedom.)
Questions for Candidates
- Did you/would you have voted for or against the redefinition of marriage?
- What would you do to ensure that marriage, as the union between one man and one woman, is encouraged.
- Do you support the right of those who believe in marriage as traditionally understood to articulate their view? What would you do to ensure such people remain free to hold and express their view that marriage, properly conceived, can only exist as the union of a man and woman ?