Church in Wales to consider performing same-sex marriages
The Church in Wales has launched a consultation to evaluate whether it should solemnise same-sex marriages.
The Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan announced the move at a meeting of the church’s Governing Body on Friday.
Over 12 months, the Church’s six dioceses will be asked to give their views on three options: allowing same-sex weddings, introducing blessings for gay relationships, or maintaining the status quo.
Following the consultation, the Church will produce a paper recommending an approach, which will be sent to the dioceses and the Governing Body for approval.
However, as part of the “quadruple lock” put into the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act last year to maintain religious freedom, it is currently explicitly illegal for the Church in Wales and Church of England to marry same-sex couples.
If the 12-month consultation does find in favour of solemnising same-sex marriages, new legislation would have to be approved by Parliament to amend the Act, and allow the Church in Wales to conduct the weddings.
According to the Church Times, the Archbishop said: “First, there certainly seems to be an openness, perhaps even a desire, amongst Governing Body members to affirm in some way or another faithful monogamous same-sex relationships. But, secondly, there is an unease – perhaps even an unwillingness – for same-sex marriages to be solemnised in church because the church has hitherto defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
“If we were to act on the first principle – that is, that the Church would now agree to say public prayers or to bless same-sex couples – that would obviously include civil same-sex marriages as well as civil partnerships. It would make no sense at all to bless civil partner-ships and not same-sex marriages.
“But if we were to bless same-sex civil marriages, the question would arise why we were unwilling to solemnise those marriages, given the fact that, in traditional Christian sacramental theology, it is the couple, in fact, who marry one another, and the Church merely invokes God’s blessing on their commitment.”
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