A north-south divide emerged within the Church of Ireland last night as Synod members voted down a proposal to change its attitude to same-sex unions.
The annual gathering rejected the motion to soften its stance and understanding on same-sex marriage, and its relationships with members of the gay and lesbian community. However it has tasked the Bishops with examining the further theological differences, with a view to proposing a way forward.
After a wide ranging and moving two-hour debate at the annual meeting in Limerick, the governing General Synod voted by 176 to 146 to reject the motion, which was aimed at developing a public thanksgiving service for legally married same-sex couples. There were 24 abstentions.