A well known Church of Ireland Minister has revealed details of his marriage to his long term boyfriend of 20 years.
Carlow based Minister Tom Gordon Dean married his same sex partner in a civil ceremony in July.
The Portadown-born Rev Dean outlined details of his wedding to BBC Radio Ulster.
A former lecturer at the Church of Ireland theological college in Dublin, Rev Dean is a co-ordinator of religious programmes involving the Protestant churches for Irish national radio.
He has been dean of the Cathedral of St Laserian, Leighlin, in the diocese of Cashel and Ossory since last year.
The reverend’s wedding and public announcement has been welcomed by Changing Attitude Ireland, a group of Church of Ireland members working for the affirmation of same-sex couples.
“Dean Tom Gordon’s civil partnership is evidence of the growing visibility and acceptance of same-sex couples within the Church of Ireland,” said the group’s secretary Canon Charles Kenny said.
“I know that many people in the Church of Ireland will join me in extending our congratulations to the dean and his civil partner.”
This is believed to the first civil partnership involving a serving Church of Ireland cleric although the Irish Times claims was a previous civil partnership involving a retired Church of Ireland minister.
The Church of England has witnessed several ministers marry since British legislation on same-sex unions in 2005.
However, the Church of England requires serving ministers to affirm they will remain celibate in the partnerships according to the Irish Times.
The paper reports that the English church’s stance is that a person’s sexual orientation is ‘irrelevant to their suitability for Episcopal office’ but that someone involved ‘in a sexually active relationship outside marriage is not eligible for the episcopate or other ordained ministry’.