The Governing Body of the Church in Wales sat for a vote on same gender marriage on Thursday, 1 SEP 2015. The Body voted, by a majority, in favor of same gender marriage. However, the majorities in each section of the Body were less than the required 2/3 majority needed to change canon law. The Governing Body is made up of three sections; the 6 bishops diocesan, 51 clergy and 86 laity. The Body considered three positions during the vote; to maintain the status quo, to allow same gender blessings or to allow same gender marriages.
There were 120 members of the Governing Body present for the vote. 61 members; 3 bishops, 26 clergy and 32 laity, voted to allow same gender couples to be married in the Church. 50; 1 bishop, 21 clergy and 28 laity, voted to maintain the Church’s current teaching on marriage and partnerships. 9 members voted to allow same gender blessings in the Church. Prior to the vote, there was an open discussion on the topic of same gender marriage that lasted two and a half hours. It is reported that the debate was civil and represented the usual arguments on both sides of the subject.
The vote was non-binding. Because it did not have the majorities needed to change canon law in the Church in Wales, afterward the Primate, the Most Revd Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales, ventured to say that at this point it was unlikely the Bench of Bishops would bring forward a bill to change church law with regard to marriage. He told the BBC that, “It would be a very brave or perhaps a very foolish Bench of Bishops who were to bring the bill before the governing body at this stage. Because that might just rip the church apart and lead to the acrimony that has been absent from this debate.”