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Church in Wales considers introducing same-sex marriages

February 2021

Ciarán Kelly
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The Church in Wales is considering introducing same-sex marriage blessings in its services, after Bishops proposed radical changes to the Book of Common Prayer.

At the end of last year, the Bench of Bishops made a presentation to its governing body, claiming, ‘We believe same-sex relationships can be understood in a radically different way, and that the teaching of Scripture should therefore be re-interrogated.’

However, Ciarán Kelly, spokesman for the Christian Institute (CI) said the Bishops had got their decision-making ‘the wrong way round’.

He commented, ‘It is for the Bible to tell us how to understand human relationships, not for us to reinterpret the Bible according to the fleeting thinking of the day.

‘Marriage is between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others and for life. The Church in Wales needs to abandon this course of action and return to Scripture.’

This came as the Law Commission’s consultation on weddings law in England and Wales closed in January, with the outcome anticipated within the first quarter this year.

The changes proposed in the Law Commission’s document could ‘seriously undermine the dignity of marriage’ and the solemnity of the service itself, according to the CI.

A statement from the CI claimed allowing legally binding ceremonies to take place in casinos or underwater or while jumping from a plane would ‘not reflect the seriousness of the wedding vows’.

In its response to the consultation, the CI also expressed disapproval for the proposal to do away with ‘prescribed words’. According to the CI, ‘Couples would be able to marry saying any words they choose – or none at all – as long as they express consent “orally or otherwise”.’

The Christian organisation had provided guidelines for anyone to respond to the consultation. It is hoped the weight of arguments against such changes will curb the scope of Law Commission’s final changes.

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