Gay couples who want to get married should be patient if they want the blessing of the Church in Wales, its archbishop has said today (23 April).
The first same-sex weddings in England and Wales took place on 29 March with many gay couples able to say they were one of the first to be officially married.
In the legislation passed by parliament, the Church of England and the Church in Wales was expressly banned from blessing same-sex marriages.
Other religious organizations had the power to ‘opt-in’ if they wished.
But now Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan has said there is no single Christian viewpoint on issues such as gay relationships.
The religious leader told the church’s governing body many people use the Bible to ‘reinforce viewpoints that we have already arrived at in other ways and for other reasons’.
‘Some people have changed their minds for example on women’s ministry and same-sex relationships when they have experienced the ministry of a woman priest in the one case, or discovered their own son or daughter to be gay in the other,’ Morgan said.
The Archbishop pointed out the church’s view on remarriage of divorced people had also ‘evolved and changed’ after it had first been legalized by the state.
He asked: ‘Will we, as a Church, eventually adopt the same approach as far as same-sex relationships are concerned, as we have done about re-marriage after divorce, or is gay marriage in a different category from the re-marriage of divorced people?
‘Whatever our viewpoints, I hope that our discussions can be charitable.’
Morgan urged clergy keen to publicly bless same-sex marriages to be patient, saying the Church as a whole must decide the matter.
In response, Stonewall Cymru’s director, Andrew White said: ‘We’ve always been clear that the church’s right to decide for itself on same sex marriage is an important matter of religious freedom.
‘The Archbishop has been consistent in his support for LGBT equality. The discussion the Church in Wales are about to enter involves real people, real lives.
‘We know that it will be followed intensely by many same sex couples in Wales, their families, friends and communities.
‘Dr Morgan’s reminder to those gathered about the importance not just of the substance of the debate, but of its tone is therefore very welcome indeed.’