Archbishop of Wales says Church is ‘not ready yet’ for same-sex marriages
The Archbishop of Wales has apologised to gay and lesbian Christians as he ruled out a shifting stance on same-sex marriage – claiming his Church is “not ready” for the change.
Rev Dr Barry Morgan heads the Church in Wales, which has made movements on LGBT issues – but continues to enforce a ban on same-sex weddings in line with the Church of England.
2013’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act legally prohibits Church in Wales clergy from carrying out same-sex marriages – but includes provisions to change this if the Church opts to change its policy.
Speaking at a meeting of the Church’s governing body this week, the Archbishop said the Church is still not ready for changes.
He said: “We are not ready, as a Church, to take the step of authorising same-sex marriage. There is no point in bringing forward a Bill for it to fail.
“That I know will be a disappointment to those who voted for change and will be a deep disappointment to same sex couples within the Church in Wales who long for the opportunity to make their vows in one of our churches.”
He instead published ‘prayers’ that can be offered to same-sex couples in informal ceremonies which “do not constitute a service of blessing”.
The Archbishop continued: “We, as bishops, feel that this is the right thing to do at this time. I realise that some people will regard these prayers as too little too late and others will regard them as a step too far.
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“No one is compelled to use them, but they are provided for those who would like to do so. These prayers do not constitute a service of blessing.”
In a letter the Archbishop spoke directly to LGBT people who felt targeted by the Church.
He wrote: “We recognise that you have often been persecuted and ostracized by the Church for your sexuality, that you have been mistreated by the Church, and forced into secrecy and dissimulation by the attitudes of prejudice which you have faced.
“We deplore such hostility, and welcome and affirm the words of the Primates that condemn homophobic prejudice and violence.
“We too commit ourselves to offering you the same loving service and pastoral care to which all humanity is entitled, and we commit ourselves to acting to provide a safe space within the Church and within our communities in which you can be honest and open, respected and affirmed.”
He said: “While as a Church we remain unable to bless the committed partnerships you form in marriage or in civil partnership, yet we commit ourselves as bishops to work for a Church in which you can be fully affirmed as equal disciples of Jesus Christ or seekers after truth.
“We will pray with you and for you, that together we may seek God’s blessing on our lives, and for faithful discipleship.”