Church in Wales votes to allow same sex marriages to be blessed by clergy
The Church in Wales has voted to allow same-sex couples to receive blessings for the first time, in a move they say is intended to signify God’s approval of the union.
The church’s governing body decided to introduce blessings “experimentally” for five years. Individual members of the clergy will have an opt-out.
Bishops voted unanimously for the move, while the clergy passed it by 28 votes to 12, and the laity by 49 to 10.
Same-sex couples are still unable to legally marry in a church, but the decision to approve blessings paves the way for such a move in the future.
The vote comes before the Church of England, who will discuss the matter at the General Synod in 2022.
“A Bill to authorise a service for blessing for same-sex partnerships is passed by the Church’s Governing Body today,” the Church in Wales said.
Bishops at the Church of Wales had set out an explanatory memorandum explaining the significance of the rite, and said that it could pave the way for same-sex church weddings.
“Approval of this rite would be stating that the Church in Wales accepts that the loving and faithful commitment of two persons of the same sex, aspiring to life-long fidelity and mutual comfort, and who have made a commitment in civil partnership or marriage, is worthy of acceptance by the church by asking God’s blessing upon their commitment,” they said.
They added that it would be a “step on the way towards repentance of a history in the church which has demonised and persecuted gay and lesbian people, forcing them into fear, dishonesty and sometimes even hypocrisy, and which has precluded them from living publicly and honestly lives of committed partnership”.