Archbishop of Wales backs Cardiff Mardi Gras and says Church needs to support LGBT people

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The Archbishop of Wales has issued a message of support for this weekend’s Cardiff Mardi Gras and at the same time admits the Anglican Church has not always treated LGBT people “with the respect they deserve.”

In a statement, Dr Barry Morgan said: “Sadly the Church has not always treated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people with the respect they deserve, as people are made in the image of God.

“Any event, such as Cardiff-Wales LGBT Mardi Gras, that breaks down barriers of prejudice and treats people as the individuals they are, with respect and dignity, has my full support.”

In December 2012, Dr Morgan said making it illegal for the Church in Wales to offer marriages for same-sex couples was a “step too far”.

The Anglican leader said in April that the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill provided “protection for clergy in not having to conduct same-sex marriages” along with “a mechanism whereby the Church in Wales could conduct same-sex marriages if, in the future, it decided to do so.”

Dr Morgan also suggested that if marriage is ever devolved to the Welsh Government the Church in Wales could lose its special status in law which obliges it to marry parishioners “regardless of their religious affinity”.

Earlier this week Dr Morgan’s English counterpart, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said that his stance against same-sex marriage could be seen as “wicked”.

The Archbishop told an audience of traditional born-again Christians on Wednesday that they must “repent” over the way gay and lesbian people have been treated in the past and said most young people viewed Christians as no better than racists when it came to opposing same-sex unions.

Archbishop Welby admitted that the Church of England’s opposition to equal marriage was “utterly overwhelmed” by vocal supporters in July.

Earlier this month his predecessor, Dr Rowan Williams admitted he regularly questioned whether he had let gay and lesbian people down during his time as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Meanwhile, David Cameron has also issued a message of support for Cardiff Mardi Gras, which starts on Saturday at the Millennium Stadium.

“No-one should face prejudice because of their sexual orientation… events such as Cardiff Mardi Gras give us the chance to come together to celebrate the diversity of our communities…I’m sure the move to the Millennium Stadium for this year’s event will make it the biggest and best to date”, the Prime Minister said.

Musical acts at this year’s event include British soul singer Beverley Knight and X Factor’s Rylan Clark.