Church in Wales to vote on blessings for same-sex marriages

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09/05/2021

Same-sex couples can now have their marriage blessed by the Church in Wales after a vote was held. However, the church will still not marry same-sex couples. Former Dean of St Albans, the Very Reverend Jeffrey John, supported the change but described it as a “halfway house” that did not go far enough. The Evangelical Fellowship opposed the move, saying it did not uphold the “standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman”. But the church said it was a step on the way towards repentance of a history which has “demonised and persecuted gay and lesbian people”. Individual clergy will be able to opt out of offering blessings to same-sex couples and some conservatives said the change would cause a split. The bill authorising a service of blessing was passed by all three orders of the church’s governing body at a meeting in Newport. The bishops passed it unanimously, the clergy passed it by 28 to 12, with two abstentions, and the laity passed it by 49 to 10, with one abstention. The change is significant because a blessing, in theological terms, signifies God’s approval. Ruth Eleri James has both a personal and professional interest in the vote. As a woman in a same-sex relationship, she said she supported giving recognition to relationships like hers as a means of showing their validity in the wider community. She is also a trainee priest with the Church in Wales.

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