Minister Rev Tom Gordon civil partnership 'welcomed'

Leighlin Cathedral The Very Reverend Tom Gordon is Dean of Leighlin Cathedral in County Carlow. Photograph courtesy of Liam Murphy.

Related Stories

A senior Church of Ireland minister has said his same-sex civil partnership, the first for an Anglican clergyman in Ireland, has been "warmly welcomed" by his congregation in County Carlow.

The Very Reverend Tom Gordon is originally from Portadown and is now Dean of Leighlin Cathedral.

He told the BBC that he and his partner of 20 years held the ceremony in a registry office in July.

He described it as a legal instrument and not equivalent to marriage.

The Anglican church in England, where several ministers have entered civil partnerships, requires those within them to remain celibate.

However, the Church of Ireland has not taken a formal stance on the issue.

Dean Gordon, who was installed as dean of the Cathedral of St Laseria in the diocese of Cashel and Ossory last year, said his two-decade long relationship was widely known about within the church in Ireland.

Civil partnerships in Ireland

  • Legislation permitting civil partnerships in Ireland was passed in parliament last year
  • The first civil partnership ceremony, between two men, took place in February 2011
  • The first civil partnership ceremonies in the UK were in 2005

He added that the bishop of his diocese, Bishop Michael Burrows, had long known about his relationship and was also made aware of the civil ceremony before it took place.

Dean Gordon said that he saw a civil partnership as a "normative milestone" in his relationship when the law permitting it was enacted.

He added: "There are a number of issues that come about - taxation for example, just very normal practical things."

The worldwide Anglican church is divided on the issue of same-sex relationships and marriage but Dean Gordon, a former lecturer at the Church of Ireland college in Dublin, said his experience within his own diocese had been supportive.

"I have not had anything here. Quite the opposite - I have had very warm support right across the board," he said.

Dean Gordon, who also works as a psychotherapist, added that he had been clear about his view of civil partnerships.

"I regard it exactly as it is - a legally recognised partnership. The area of marriage brings us into another area of dialogue."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Northern Ireland stories



  • Witley Court in Worcestershire Abandoned mansions

    What happened to England's lost stately homes?

  • Tray of beer being carried10 Things

    Beer is less likely to slosh than coffee, and other nuggets

  • Spoon and buckwheatSoul food

    The grain that tells you a lot about Russia's state of mind

  • Woman readingWeekendish

    The best reads you need to catch up on

  • Salim Rashid SuriThe Singing Sailor

    The young Omani who became a prewar fusion music hit

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.