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It’s been more than two weeks, but this DUP politician is still raging about the same-sex wedding on Songs of Praise

Emma Powys Maurice September 4, 2019
Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall on the BBC's Songs of Praise

Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall on the BBC's Songs of Praise. (BBC)

A DUP councillor has complained that the same-sex marriage shown on BBC’s Songs of Praise may cause anti-gay churches to be seen as “somehow unwelcoming”.

Gareth Wilson of County Armagh in Northern Ireland denounced the Christian TV show after it featured a gay church wedding on August 18. It was the first time the show acknowledged marriage equality in its 58-year history.

Wilson told the Ulster Gazette that the same-sex marriage was a “seismic departure” for the programme and its inclusion in the show was “not representative of Church opinion”.

The two grooms are members of the United Reformed Church, which voted overwhelmingly to allow its churches to perform same-sex marriages in 2016.

Wilson said: “Songs Of Praise has traditionally been a feature-style programme reflective of church life in the UK and is wholly reflective of the main churches that operate within the UK.

“However, to feature a same-sex marriage in one of the very, very few churches that have moved to offer such services, is a seismic departure for Songs Of Praise and done without due consideration of the views of churches, and indeed scripture, on this matter.”

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

He complained that the BBC’s coverage of the happy couple “inaccurately” portrays those who do not support equal marriage in a negative light.

“The effect of this promotion, and lack of an opposing position, served to inaccurately paint a picture of churches who hold fast to the scriptures as a cornerstone as being in some way uncaring or non-compassionate,” he said.

“The longer term impact of that is to then see churches that reject same-same marriage as being extreme or ‘out there’ and somehow unwelcoming.

“The BBC have taken a very deliberate promotional approach on this topic. This was very obvious and as the programme failed to reflect the prevailing and biblical Christian view on same-sex marriage, the programme was all the more regrettable.

“Many Christian groups and organisations have expressed their concerns already on this matter and rightly so.”

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)

Although the sight of two loving men tying the knot was enough to concern Wilson, most TV viewers felt differently.

The internet was flooded with praise for the programme, which was credited with showing another side to Christianity, and the newly-married couple received messages of support from all around the world.

College lecturer Jamie told the Daily Record: “Our phones haven’t stopped ringing. Overall, the reaction has been overwhelming positive.

“We’ve been offered a break at someone’s holiday home in Canada, and people from the US have been in touch, too.

“There was another elderly couple from the south of England who said watching our episode inspired them to finally tie the knot. It’s been amazing.”

More: BBC, DUP, Northern Ireland, Religion, Songs of Praise

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