An extract from the letter to Ritchie reads, "Marriage was the first human institution that God established, it is held in high esteem by your constituents. We sincerely hope you will not fail us on this fundamental issue."
In addition, he was keen to point out that he felt the bill's approval would have harmful effects on society.
“We are not looking for protection of church rights, what we are seeking is to protect the whole of society against this unnecessary and damaging proposal," he said
The SDLP's position on gay marriage is unclear, with some party members taking contradictory lines on the subject in recent months. Bingham said, "This is a major issue, and if political parties are going to vote on things like this, they must make their stance clear in their manifestos.”
Ritchie declined to comment and said she will be contacting Mourne Presbyterian Church directly.
County Down Outlook
BAILIEBOROUGH, Co. Cavan is the most romantic town in all of Ireland – according to Tesco anyway.
More Valentine's chocolates and gifts are sold at the Tesco store in Bailieborough than in any other town in Ireland, mostly bought by wives and girlfriends. Over one-third of all customers in the store pick up a Valentine's Day treat for their other half in the week leading up to the most romantic day of the year, according to a statement from the supermarket giant.
Arklow in Co. Wicklow comes a close second, where romance is well and truly alive with men leading the way, buying more cards and flowers than at any other store in Ireland.
However, if you live in Dublin City Centre or Cork City Centre then don't hold your breath for a Valentine's card this year. These places have the least romantic inhabitants according to Tesco sales.
Avril Mulcahy, the modern matchmaker, commented, "This research has shown that women tend to plan Valentine's Day more as an event, picking up cards and novelty items over the two weeks leading up to the day, and choosing items such as candles and table accessories to really create a romantic ambience.
"Men however tend to stick to traditional gifts such as flowers and chocolates, and tend to buy their cards at the last minute. Over half of all Valentine's cards are bought at Tesco on February 13 and 14, and almost a quarter of cards are picked up on Valentine's Day itself with sales peaking at lunchtime and 6 p.m."
The Anglo Celt