Irish Catholic priest comes out to support marriage equality during service

An Irish Catholic priest, Father Martin Dolan, came out as gay during a service last weekend, and received a standing ovation from his parishioners. Dolan's sermon expressed his support for marriage equality, which is expected to come to a referendum vote in the Republic of Ireland this May. He has been a priest at the Church of St. Nicholas of Myra, Francis Street Parish, for fifteen years.

One parishioner, Liz O'Connor, told The Irish Sun:

"We are all very proud of Father Martin. Because he has admitted that he is gay he doesn't change the person that he was before it."

O'Connor added that the congregation would not like to see Dolan leave the parish. While Dolan is currently away on a scheduled vacation, the Dublin archdiocese declined to comment on his sermon and announcement at this time.

In the U.S., states that faced a marriage equality vote similarly saw Catholic clergy speak out in support of marriage for same-sex couples. Leading up to the 2012 vote on Minnesota's amendment that banned marriage equality, Father Bob Pierson, a gay priest, told his parishioners that they could vote against the discriminatory amendment, which he believed violated an important principle in Catholic teaching. A group of former Catholic priests in Washington state also endorsed marriage equality leading up to a vote on the issue.