The Archbishop of Wales has urged the Church to take a lesson from the gospels and support civil marriage for gay people in Britain.
Archbishop Barry Morgan, an outspoken proponent of gay rights, said in a presidential address to members of the Church in Wales’ Governing Body in Llandudno, that Christians needed “to show how the Gospel of Jesus is good news for gay people,” and that in order to do so the Church must recognize civil gay marriage.
“The Government’s consultation on civil marriage raises a whole host of theological questions for the church.
“My concern at the moment is that in any discussion which might ensue on this, gay people may once more gain the impression that the church is uncaring and unsympathetic.
“Things could be said in the coming months which I think could seriously damage people pastorally so it is that pastoral issue that I want to address.”
“If the legislation to allow civil marriage is passed, I cannot see how we as a church, will be able to ignore the legality of the status of such partnerships and we ought not to want to do so.
“The question then, as now, is: will the church protect and support pastorally, faithful, stable, lifelong relationships of whatever kind in order to encourage human values such as love and fidelity and recognise the need in Christian people for some public religious support for these?
“As Helen says in the novel Nightwatch by Sarah Walters, a novel written in 1947, ‘What could she do to say to the world that Julia was hers?’
“She could have gone on to ask ‘What can the church do to show that this relationship is not simply something between my partner and I but that somehow God is in our midst as well and longs for our wellbeing?’ It is a discussion we need to have.”
The Archbishop’s support for church recognition of same-sex civil marriage has been called brave by others, including Rev Andrew Morton, vicar of Llangybi, Monmouthshire, who recently offered his resignation over what he perceived as rising homophobia in the church.
These comments are in stark contrast to other religious figures such as Lord Carey who compared gay marriage to legalizing slavery.