Archbishop of Wales says churches could marry same-sex couples in next few years
The new archbishop of Wales has said that same-sex weddings could be held in churches within the next five years.
Speaking after he was enthroned at St Deiniol’s cathedral in Bangor, Andrew John that the Church in Wales should be inclusive and “welcome people, where they are, who they are”.
Last year, the Church voted to allow same-sex couples to have their civil partnership blessed. The blessings are being introduced for an ‘experimental’ period of five years, with individual clergy able to opt out.
The new archbishop said he was “enormously heartened” by the vote.
He said, per the BBC: “Although it wasn’t unanimous – it showed the Church in Wales has a common mind on this.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if, within that five-year period, we were once again talking about the marriage of same-sex couples.”
John, who has served as Bishop of Bangor since 2008, warned however that there would need to be further “debate” before same-sex marriage marriages could take place in the Church in Wales.
“We need to make the journey and we then need to have the debate, and when we do that I think we’ll find ourselves looking back and thinking perhaps the concern or the trouble, real and sincere as it was, wasn’t a real problem.”
At present, the Church of England and the Church of Scotland do not permit same-sex marriages. However, the Scottish Episcopal Church voted to allow same-sex couples to marry in church in 2017.
However, a paper submitted to the 2022 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland showed a majority of presbyteries are in favour of allowing same-sex marriage.
The Church of England is expected to discuss the issue of marriage equality this year, having published a set of resources on issues such as LGBT+ inclusion back in 2020.
While delivering his first sermon, the new archbishop of Wales promised to be “radical”, weighing in on the Ukraine war, the UK government’s controversial Rwanda refugee policy, and the Church’s failures to protect survivors of abuse.