You don't hear this from a religious leader every day.
"I have... no wish to stuff my religious views down other people’s throats, but I also have a right to express my views in the reasoned language of social ethics." That's what the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, stated in a column in The Irish Times in light of Ireland's historic same-sex marriage vote on May 22.
"As a bishop I have strong views on marriage based on my religious convictions," Archbishop Diarmuid Martin wrote in a column for The Irish Times.
Martin said he plans to vote against same-sex marriage in Friday's referendum, but noted the example Pope Francis sets on the topic by encouraging people not to make judgments against individuals. He went on, however, to offer what he calls "reasoned argument" on the topic of married couples and child-bearing.
"There is a unique complementarity between men and women, male and female, rooted in the very nature of our humanity," Martin wrote. "I believe that this complementarity belongs to the fundamental definition of marriage." Despite his personal views, he concluded by saying he would not tell people how to cast their ballots, but encouraged them to vote.
Martin's stance on the referendum falls in line with the Irish Catholic Church's largely muted voice on the topic. Eamon Martin, the Archbishop of Armagh, told RTE News that Catholic leaders were reaching out to their own flock by distributing literature in churches to encourage a "no" vote.
Even Petra Conroy, a prominent campaigner against same-sex marriage, told Reuters on Monday: "For any faith, it's not good if the people are only doing something because somebody else is telling them to."
A February 2014 survey conducted by RED C in conjunction with RTE News and The Sunday Business Post found that 76 percent of adults in the country favored legalizing same-sex marriage.
All of the country's political parties support a "yes" vote, NPR notes, as do a majority of businesses and unions. Roughly 18 countries around the world allow same-sex marriage, but Ireland could become the first to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.