According to the Telegraph, Jan Tipper and Barb Burden became the first lesbian couple to get married in a church in the UK.
The couple, both Christians, wanted to get married “before God” in front of their “church, friends and family.” Paster Reverend Dwayne Morgan conducted the service at the Metropolitan Community Church in Bournemouth.
Originally, all churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples were excluded from conducting same-sex weddings. However, some of the more liberal religions like the Quaker and Unitarian churches allow gay marriage, though the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church can legally exclude same-sex weddings.
Tipper said that getting married in their church was “very significant.”
“Even though we’ve been together for almost 19 years it didn’t feel right for us to have just a blessing or even a civil partnership,” she said. “We’ve hoped for years for the opportunity to legally marry and once it became possible we knew it was time for us to tie the knot and to do it before god in our church with our friends and family.”
Rev. Morgan said the Metropolitan Community Church, which was established in 1979, has been offering same-sex wedding services for many years, but to “finally have the Government fully recognize their love by giving them complete legal status as a married couple is a blessing for everyone.”
“We are extremely pleased that the Government didn’t just listen to those churches that wanted to completely block same-sex couples from the right to have their marriage consecrated in their place of worship, but heard the voices of the minority of people of faith who believe that God doesn’t discriminate,” Rev. Morgan said. “We are grateful to all those who have struggled for the rights of gay people for so many years that has led us to this historic day.”
Publisher of PinkNews and leader of the Out4Marriage campaign, Benjamin Cohen, said he is delighted same-sex marriages are now allowed.
“This is exactly what we fought for equal marriage for,” Cohen said. “No religious institution should ever be forced to marry a same-sex couple, but those who with to, now have the freedom to do so.”