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Songs of Praise aired its ground-breaking same-sex wedding episode – and the internet loved it

Reiss Smith August 19, 2019
Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall kissing at the altar

Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall became the first same-sex couple to broadcast their wedding on Songs of Praise. (BBC)

The BBC’s Songs of Praise broke new ground on Sunday by broadcasting its first-ever same-sex wedding, much to the delight of the LGBT+ community.

This week’s episode of the long-running faith show featured the wedding of Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall, two gay men from Scotland.

Cameras followed the couple as they exchanged vows at Glasgow’s Rutherglen United Reformed Church, one of the few churches in the UK to welcome same-sex marriages.

It marked the first time that Songs of Praise has acknowledged marriage equality in its 58-year history, stirring emotions for both religious and non-religious viewers.

One viewer spotted what he thought was a subtle piece of political commentary.

While another thanked the BBC for showing another side to Christianity.

Songs of Praise‘s gay groom always wanted church wedding.

Wallace’s mother said her son had “always wanted to get married in a church”.

“It means the whole world,” she said. “[His faith is] very important to him, ever since he was a wee boy.”

But during the show, his new husband acknowledged that there will be those in the church who remain opposed to their union.

Jesus preaches about love, inclusion, kindness, compassion.

“Jesus preaches about love, inclusion, kindness, compassion,” McDowell said.

โ€œA good lady who comes to this church told us in one of our discussions, people will change, and donโ€™t underestimate older people, either. They just need to think about it, and theyโ€™ll get there one day.โ€

Most churches continue to ban same-sex weddings.

Marriage equality was introduced to England and Wales in 2013, and to Scotland in 2014.

Same-sex marriages are welcomed by a handful of other faith groups in the UK , including the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Unitarian Church, the Quakers, the Unitarian Church and Liberal Judaism.

The Church of England remains opposed to marriage equality, despite pressure from clergy groups and support from Anglicans.

 Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall lighting a candle together.
Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall lit a candle during their wedding ceremony. (BBC)

The United Reform Church (URC) voted to allow same-sex weddings to take place in its churches in 2016.

As Rev. Andy Braunston explained to Songs of Praise, it is down to individual congregations as to whether they perform same-sex weddings.

“We didn’t want to carry on arguing about it so we decided to live with he difference,” he said.

 

More: BBC, Same-sex wedding, Songs of Praise

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