Stained glass windows in a large church hall

The Church of England’s General Synod have approved a motion allowing same-sex couples to go to an Anglican Church after a legal marriage ceremony for a service of blessing including prayers of dedication and thanksgiving.

Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith

This approval comes after an eight hour debate over a two day period. The motion was brought as a result of the Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith process of listening, learning and discernment on questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage. The process has not been without its controversies and there still remains a diverse view across the Anglican Communion on these issues.

The result of the motion

The result of the motion and the earlier deliberations of the House of Bishops is that same-sex Christian couples can ask to have a service blessing and giving thanks for the couple, whether they have had a civil marriage or civil partnership. It will be for each individual member of the clergy whether they wish to undertake such a service and there is no legal obligation on them to do so.

The House of Bishops has prepared draft prayers for use by the clergy in these services and these will be refined following the debate in General Synod and then be made available for clergy to use.

New Church working group

Internally within the Church a new working group is to be formed to update and replace the current pastoral guidance “Issues in Human Sexuality” in order to reflect the altered stance of the Church on the matter of same-sex relationships and the practical implications of this for the clergy.

If you have any marriage-related queries our Church Law team can provide assistance.