Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Church in Wales backs away from gay marriage

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales has rebuffed the push backed by its primate, the Most Rev. Barry Morgan, to introduce rites for the blessing of same-sex marriage. At the second day of the synod’s meeting in Lampeter on 17 Sept 2015 members of synod halted any immediate moves to introduce same-sex marriage. The vote not to go forward by the synod of one of most liberal churches in the Anglican Communion does not end the debate in Wales, but the strength of the opposition to the innovation of same-sex marriage makes any move to introduce same-sex marriage unlikely for the near future. At the April 2014 meeting of the Governing Body, the Doctrinal Commission of the Church in Wales presented a study on the question of same-sex marriage and proposed the church consider three options: 1) maintain the traditional position; 2) allow the blessing of same-sex partnerships; and 3) solemnize the marriage of any two people without reference to gender. The report was passed to the diocesan conferences, or synods, for consideration and was brought before the 2015 meeting of the Governing Body in a non-binding vote to assess the mode of the church. Following two hours of debate, with none of the church’s bishops speaking, the clergy voted 44 per cent in favor of option 1, 2 per cent in favor of option 2; and 54 per cent in favor of option 3. (44/2/54) Among the laity the vote was 43 for 1, 9 for 2, and 48 for 3 (43/9/48) — with those in favor of changing the church’s traditional stance on marriage falling well short of the necessary two thirds margin to initiate change. The vote amongst the bishops however did not follow the clergy and laity, with only 1 bishop voting for maintaining the traditional position on marriage. Speaking to the BBC after the vote, Dr. Morgan acknowledged the church was sharply divided. “It would be a very brave, or perhaps a very foolish bench of bishops who were to bring a bill before the Governing Body at this stage because that might just rip the Church apart and lead to the acrimony which has been absent from this debate,” he said.

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