The Church in Wales to bless gay marriages

The Church in Wales to bless gay marriages

Gay couples will now be legally allowed to have their marriage blessed in church, following a historic vote by Welsh religious leaders.

The Church in Wales voted on Monday to allow Anglican ministers to bless same-se-x couples, meaning that the Church of England is now the only Anglican church in Great Britain not to either bless or marry same-se-x couples.

While the proposals would not allow gay weddings, the move has been hailed as a “halfway house” for modernists, while conservatives fear the move is controversial, and could split the church. 

The Church in Wales tweeted: “A Bill to authorise a service for blessing for same-se-x partnerships is passed by the Church’s Governing Body today.”

Responding to the vote passing, Paul Bayes, the Bishop of Liverpool, said: “This is a good decision. The Church in Wales is following its mission to Wales, just as the Church of England is called to shape its mission for England.

“Part of a world Communion, and there for the actual people we are sent to serve, in all their rich and God-given diversity.”

‘We must learn to embrace diversity’

Jayne Ozanne, a prominent LGBT campaigner and member of General Synod, the Church of England’s legislative body, added: “I’m thrilled to hear of this significant step by the Church in Wales towards a fully inclusive church today.  

“If we want all in our care to flourish and thrive, and for our churches to grow, we must learn to embrace diversity and be known as people who practice what we preach. 

“Love is love, and where this is found between two adults it is something that should be celebrated and blessed.  I yearn for the day when the Church of England has the courage to make the same step – we need to be a Church for ALL England!”

The Very Reverend Jeffrey John, a Church of England priest who made headlines in 2003 by being the first person to have openly been in a same-se-x relationship to have been nominated as a Church of England bishop, also described the vote as a “halfway house”. 

The Church in Wales’s vote to allow blessings of gay marriages passed by a two-thirds majority across all three “orders” – bishops, clergy and laity – of its governing body.

The Bill will only be for a “experimental” five-year term and individual clergy members would be able to “opt out” of leading ceremonies.

Last year, bishops in the Church of England rejected similar proposals.

Church accepts Bill is ‘controversial’

Meanwhile, the Church of Scotland is currently considering such proposals, with Dec 31 marking the deadline for ministers to express their views to the General Assembly, and the Church of Ireland also forbids blessings of same-se-x couples.

In a statement, ahead of the vote, the Church in Wales said it recognised the Bill was “controversial” but hoped it would be discussed “in a respectful and dignified way”.

A joint statement from The Church in Wales Bishops said: “Approval of this rite would be stating that the Church in Wales accepts that the loving and faithful commitment of two persons of the same se-x, aspiring to life-long fidelity and mutual comfort.”

The Bill was discussed at a meeting of the church’s governing body.

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