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Ireland’s same-sex marriage vote puts the Catholic Church on the defensive

Publication: 
Public Radio International
Release Date: 
May 21, 2015

If the voting public in Ireland does as expected and says "yes" to same-sex marriage in Friday’s national referendum, it will be yet another reminder of how far and fast the country is moving away from its Roman Catholic roots.

For a long time, Catholic leaders worked closely with the Irish government to craft national legislation. But times have changed. The current archbishop of Dublin conceded as much in a television interview on Wednesday.   

“I think the days when bishops tell people how to vote is long since gone,” Diarmuid Martin told RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster. Martin was asked if Catholics can vote ‘yes’ to legalize same-sex marriage in good conscience.

“I don’t tell anybody how to vote,” said the archbishop. But Martin went on to explain why he will be voting ‘no.’