Church in Wales passes vote to allow same-sex couples to have marriages blessed

  • Report by Rob Osborne

The Church in Wales will allow same-sex couples to have their marriages blessed in the church, following an historic vote by religious leaders.

Officials spent most of Monday debating the plans to introduce the blessings at a meeting in Newport with Bishops urging members to discuss the proposed changes in a "respectful and dignified way."

The Bishops passed the Bill unanimously, the clergy by 28 to 12 with two abstentions and the laity by 49 to 10 with one abstention.

The vote came after hours of deliberations, but some argue the new change does not go far enough as same-sex couples are still unable to legally marry in a church.

The debate was livestreamed on Monday

The vote comes after the governing body said it was "pastorally unsustainable" for the church not to provide any sort of service for those in committed same-sex relationships.

But couples like Lindsey and Lisa Cordery-Bruce argue the bill is still "a form of inequality".

Lindsey told ITV News, "However you dress it up, it's a form of inequality. It's not the same as what straight couples have available to them.

"It's a step they've even put this conversation on the table... but it doesn't go far enough in terms of recognising that our marriage is as valid and equal as every body else's.

"I think it's the last acceptable form of homophobia. Nowhere else would that be acceptable."

A statement from 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 sex, aspiring to life-long fidelity and mutual comfort."

Responding to the vote, the Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, who introduced the Bill, said, “I come out of this debate with no sense of triumph but believing that the Church in Wales has done the right thing under God for the LGBTQIA+ community.

"The Church has spoken decisively today in favour of blessings. There is a journey still to be taken but I hope that we can do it together with all the wings of the Church.”

Gay rights groups have welcomed the decision. Davinia-Lopuise Green from Stonewall Cymru said it's a "massive achievement".

"We're really pleased but the story hasn't ended here. We definitely want to continue that in the future people in the LGBTQ+ community can have the same choices when it comes to marriage as everyone else".