Songs of Praise will feature same-sex wedding in groundbreaking episode

Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall on the BBC's Songs of Praise

BBC’s religious show Songs of Praise is set to feature a same-sex wedding in a groundbreaking new episode.

The long-running series, which broadcasts hymns sung at churches across the UK, will feature parts of a same-sex wedding service at an inclusive church on Sunday, August 18.

The episode will feature the wedding of Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall at the Rutherglen United Reformed Church in Glasgow.

The pair are the first same-sex couple to marry at the church after the local congregation gave its backing.

Songs of Praise couple: Jesus taught about inclusion.

Speaking on Songs of Praise, Wallace explained: “Jesus preaches about love, inclusion, kindness, compassion.

“A good lady who comes to this church told us in one of our discussions, people will change, and don’t underestimate older people, either. They just need to think about it, and they’ll get there one day.”

He told Glasgow’s Sunday Post: “As a committed Christian, being able to marry the man I love with all my heart and soul, before God, in the church I love, with my family, friends and the congregation around us, is something I’ve dreamed of.

“Now it’s actually happened, I’m proud my church is welcoming and open to same-sex couples.”

Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall on the BBC's Songs of Praise

Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall on the BBC’s Songs of Praise

He praised the church for being “in tune with modern Scotland”.

David Pickering, the moderator of the United Reformed Church of Scotland, said: “When you realise that, in our lifetime, to love someone of the same sex was a criminal offence, we’ve come a very long way.

“The United Reformed Church of Scotland is open and welcome to all, regardless of their sexuality, gender or race.

“There have been some who oppose same-sex marriage, and they give traditional biblical values as their reason.

“But, for me, grace, love, justice and inclusivity is what traditional biblical values are all about.”

United Reformed Church is one of few denominations to welcome LGBT+ people.

The United Reformed Church is one of just a few religious denominations in the UK to permit same-sex unions, alongside the Scottish Episcopal church, the Quakers, the Unitarian church and Liberal Judaism.

The UK Methodist Church and Church of Scotland are among other religious groups reviewing changes that would open the door to permitting same-sex weddings.

The Church of England and the Church in Wales are still opposed to same-sex marriage, and also remain legally banned from performing them.

The 2013 Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act explicitly barred the Church of England and the Church in Wales from conducting same-sex marriages as part of a ‘quadruple lock’ to appease religious opponents of same-sex marriage.