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Archbishop of Wales to oppose church gay marriage ban

Doctor Barry Morgan will speak with the UK government to discuss dropping the legislation preventing the Church of Wales to opt in to same-sex marriages
Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan has said the government ban on religious same-sex unions has gone too far.

Archbishop Barry Morgan will say to the UK government not to impose a legal ban on the Church in Wales performing same-sex marriages today (21 December).

The leader of the Church in Wales said it had not been consulted in advance over the plans to legalize marriages in religious buildings.

As part of the legislation, there will be a quadruple lock ensuring no gay couple will be able to sue a religious organization who does not wish to opt in to hosting their wedding.

Before his meeting with the Department of Culture in Cardiff, the Archbishop said: ‘I am not sure we want that kind of protection which makes us out to be very unwelcoming and homophobic.

‘It is not that I am advocating that the Church in Wales is right to perform gay marriages but that decision needs to be made by the Church in Wales, it is not for the state to decide for us.’

Immediately after the announcement, Morgan said banning the church from marrying gay couples was a ‘step too far’.

He added: ‘They have a tight legislative programme but on the other hand it would have been helpful to have consulted us beforehand.

‘I can understand their motives which were in order to try to help us. But as far as marriage is concerned we are still part of the establishment.

‘All clergy are registrars and are required by law to marry anyone within our parishes who can ask for a wedding.’

Women and Equalities Minister Maria Miller has said if the Church of England and Wales wishes to opt in to host same-sex marriages, then they will be able amend the legislation itself with the approval of parliament.

A government spokesman also told Gay Star News it was not true that they had not discussed the proposals with the Church, but said they could not reveal specifics as it would be ‘inappropriate’.

‘As part of our consultation process, and before we finalized our proposals, Government officials met the Church of England at a very senior level,’ they said.

‘'The Church made clear to us its wish to see legal provisions which would ensure that their position on not conducting same-sex marriages could continue.’

Members of parliament will have a free vote on gay marriage in 2013, and depending on the vote, the law will be legalized in 2014.

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