The Church in Wales has responded to the publication of the government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples Bill) and says the proposals give it scope to consider sanctioning marriages for gay couples in the future.

The Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan previously warned that making it illegal for the Church in Wales to offer marriages for gay couples would be a “step too far” – although its leadership currently have no plans to do so.

On Friday a spokesperson for the Church in Wales said: “Since the statement to Parliament by the Minister for Women and Equalities (Maria Miller) on 11 December 2012, the government has worked to understand and accommodate the position of the Church in Wales in its equal marriage Bill. As a disestablished church with a legal duty to marry the Church in Wales is uniquely placed. The Bill provides protection for the Church whilst still enabling it to make its own decision on same-sex marriage.”

The statement continued: “Under the Bill, the duty of Church in Wales ministers to marry will not be extended to same-sex couples. However, should the Church’s Governing Body decide in the future that the Church wishes to conduct such marriages, there is provision in the Bill for the law to be altered without the need for further primary legislation by Parliament. Instead, a resolution from the Church’s Governing Body would trigger an order by the Lord Chancellor for the necessary legal changes to be made.”