The Church in Wales has overwhelmingly voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriages to be blessed in church services.
The bishops passed the bill unanimously, the clergy by 28 to 12 with two abstentions, and the laity by 49 to 10 with one abstention.
It allows same-sex couples who are already legally married or in a civil partnership to receive a blessing from a willing Church in Wales minister.
The bill – which was introduced by the Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron (pictured) – is to be implemented for five years, with a view to changing the church’s definition of marriage in the future.
The Evangelical Fellowship in the Church in Wales rejected the bill as undermining the ‘standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman’.
The group added, ‘We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family.
‘We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.’
But Bishop Gregory Cameron said, ‘I come out of this debate with no sense of triumph but believing that the Church in Wales has done the right thing under God for the LGBTQIA+ community. The Church has spoken decisively in favour of blessings.’
The discussion and vote was held on 6 September, the first day of the Governing Body meeting at the International Convention Centre Wales in Newport.
The Christian Institute’s Wales Officer, Gareth Edwards, said, ‘The Church in Wales may argue that this vote does not redefine marriage.
‘Yet tragically it still ignores the Bible’s clear teaching that marriage is, and can only ever be, between one man and one woman.’
Earlier this year, the Methodist Church in Great Britain voted to redefine marriage, conduct same-sex weddings, and affirm cohabitation.
At the time, chair of Methodist Evangelicals Together Revd Dr David Hull said that he was ‘greatly saddened’ by the decision to ‘abandon the teaching of the Christian Church held throughout history and still held by the majority of Christians around the world today’.