A Northern Irish politician has been ejected by his local Presbyterian Church after voting in favour of marriage equality.
Former Alliance Party leader and justice minister David Ford said it’s a “matter of great sadness” that he’s been removed from his role as an elder in the Second Donegore Presbyterian Church near Templepatrick.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, David was removed because the other elders refused to work with him over his stance on equality – he had held his role at the Church for nearly 30 years.
He said: “It is a matter of great sadness to Anne and I that both Presbytery and Session have failed to act to promote healing and unity within our church, despite repeated requests from us over the last nine months.
“I believed, as an elder, I had a part to play in making our congregation fit for purpose. Unfortunately, Presbytery and the Judicial Commission have now made that impossible. It remains to be seen whether or not I have any role in Dunamuggy.”
A spokesperson for the Church confirmed that, while he has been removed from his role as a ruling elder in the congregation of Second Donegore in Country Antrim, he remains an ordained elder of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
They said it had “become impossible for Mr Ford to satisfactorily discharge his duties as a ruling elder […] due to a breakdown in relationships between him and other members”.