Gay vicar who couldn’t marry in his own church says policy looks ‘ridiculous’ and ‘primitive’

Father Lee Taylor

A gay vicar who was the first to receive a same-sex blessing from the Church in Wales has called for a change in the institution’s stance on same-sex marriage, saying it will face an “existential crisis” if it refuses to make progress.

In 2021, Father Lee Taylor and his partner Fabiano da Silva Duarte became the first to receive a same-sex blessing from the Church in Wales. 

Their blessing followed the Church – which is fully independent of both the state and the Church of England – voting in September that year to approve a new service of blessing for same-sex couples.

Same-sex marriages, however, are still not permitted. 

On Tuesday (7 November), Taylor told ITV Wales’ Sharp End programme that he regrets not being allowed a full marriage ceremony at St Collen’s Church, in Llangollen, Denbighshire, where he is based. 

“The Church is facing an existential crisis if it does not address these issues of affirming, blessing and sanctifying same-sex unions in church because, outside the Church, it looks very primitive. 

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“It looks ridiculous. People can’t understand why a Church, which proclaims a gospel of love and forgiveness, peace, unity and equality, is marginalising people because of their sexual orientation.”

Many within the Church hope the ban on same-sex marriages will be lifted, and Taylor says this would be in keeping with the teachings of Jesus. 

Acknowledging that those opposed to same-sex marriage in church are “fearful of not being faithful to the scriptures”, he added: “It’s all about love and that’s it.” 

The Bishop of Llandaff, Mary Stallard, who has always worn her wedding ring on her right hand as a symbol of not all marriages being currently perceived as equal, hopes the Church will become more welcoming in the future. 

“I hope the Church has a bigger voice of welcome than it does of worry or anxiety,” she said.

“I really hope this change will come and I’m confident the Church can be flexible, can adapt and can be properly invitational and welcoming.

Any chance of blessings for same-sex couples in the Church of England are unlikely to take place before 2025, according to Bishop of London Sarah Mullally.