The Church in Wales has voted to bless same-sex marriages, a step towards marriage equality. The action puts the Church in Wales at odds with the Church of England. By law, under a provision sought by the Church of England, it cannot conduct same-sex marriages. That provision does not apply to other Christian denominations in the UK and several have adopted marriage equality. (Under the law, the CoE provision applies to the Church in Wales, but it can opt in to marriage equality. See: Marriage Age 2013.)
The move puts the Welsh church at odds with the Church of England, which forbids clergy to bless same-sex marriages. It falls short of allowing same-sex marriages in church, and includes a “conscience clause”, allowing individual clergy to decide whether or not to offer blessings.
But one bishop said he hoped the decision would lead the Welsh church to be “bold enough” to embrace sex-same marriage within five years. After a debate that was at times emotional, Gregory Cameron, bishop of St Asaph, said the decision was a “huge step forward for the church and for us all in Wales”.
Before the vote, Welsh bishops had said the move would be a “step on the way towards repentance of a history in the church which has demonised and persecuted gay and lesbian people”.