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No the ‘first same-sex church wedding’ did not just take place in the UK

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Many media outlets celebrated the “first same-sex church wedding” in the UK this week.

And while their intentions may have been good, and despite that Peter Matthews and Alistair Dinnie did marry in the Scottish Episcopal Church’s first same-sex ceremony, this was not the first same-sex church wedding in the UK by quite a stretch.

The Church of England and Church in Wales are both legally banned from carrying out same-sex weddings, but the Scottish branch of Anglicanism, the Scottish Episcopal Church, is not bound by the same laws.

In a break from traditional Anglican teachings, the Scottish church voted to permit same-sex weddings this year after bishops, clergy and laity all overwhelmingly supported the change.

And various news outlets such as the Daily Mail celebrated the event as the first same-sex church wedding to take place in the UK.

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But other denominations, such as the Unitarians and the Metropolitan have held blessings for same-sex couples for years and both opted to allow same-sex couples in England and Wales after the law changed in 2013.

The first legal same-sex wedding to take place in a religious venue actually took place in April 2014, after the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act took effect.

Jan Tipper and Barb Burden, both long-time members of the church, married in Bournemouth at a branch of the Metropolitan Church.

At the time, a spokesperson for the Church said: “We have been offering wedding services for same-sex couples for many years in our church because we believe that God blesses the love of two people no matter what their gender.”

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The Unitarian Church has also welcomed LGBT+ people for years, and despite not being able to offer legally binding marriage ceremonies before the 2013 Act, have offered blessings for years.

The Unitarian Chief Officer Derek McAuley wrote for PinkNews on the day same-sex marriages became legal in England and Wales to celebrate the change.

But that is not to say that the bold move by the Scottish Episcopal Church should not be celebrated, along with the union of Mr Matthews and Mr Dinnie.

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