Gay priest and partner make Church in Wales history with ‘rejoiceful’ same-sex blessing

Male in grey suit and male in vicar's attire receive blessing from bishop

A priest and his partner have become the first same-sex couple to receive a Church in Wales blessing.

Father Lee Taylor, 44, and his partner Fabiano Da Silva Duarte, 45, received a blessing from the Church in Wales on Saturday (13 November).

Father Lee said the service at St Collen’s Church in Llangollen, where he is priest-in-charge, was “a great day of celebration”. 

He told PinkNews: “It was very important and exciting to have reached this next step in our journey together.

“We both felt that it was not only a day of rejoicing for us, but for many other same-sex couples of faith across Wales.”

(Andrei Daniel Production/@adanielproduction)

The couple, who entered a civil partnership in 2008, were blessed by the Bishop of St Asaph, the Right Reverend Gregory Cameron. 

The ceremony came after the Church in Wales voted in September to approve a new service of blessing for same-sex couples.

While same-sex marriage is still not permitted in the Church in Wales, trainee priest Ruth Eleri James said the blessing services are “important, because this is a message to LGBT+ folk in society at large to say their relationships are loved and blessed by God.”

The bill will introduce blessings “experimentally” for five years, and individual clergy are free to decide whether or not to take part in the services.

(Andrei Daniel Production/@adanielproduction)

Kieran Bohan, network coordinator of The Open Table Network, a Christian charity which supports church communities for LGBT+ people, told PinkNews: “It is heartwarming to see a bishop embrace a priest whose civil partnership he has just blessed. 

“Blessing is a sign of God’s approval, and an affirmation of the love the couple share with one another.

“We rejoice with Lee and Fabiano, and long for the day when marriage is open to every couple in our churches.”

The Scottish Episcopal Church became the first Anglican church in the UK to allow same-sex marriages in 2017.

The Quakers in Britain, the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, and the United Reformed Church make up the other Christian denominations in the UK that allow same-sex marriages.

The Church of England does not recognise same-sex marriage, nor does it bless same-sex couples.