In an address to the Governing Body of the Church in Wales today, Archbishop Dr Barry Morgan discussed the Church’s position on same-sex marriage and emphasised the diversity of viewpoints within the Church on all subjects, not least same-sex marriage. Dr Morgan stressed the influence of our own backgrounds and beliefs on our interpretation of religious doctrine and said:
‘We often use Scripture to reinforce viewpoints that we have already arrived at in other ways and for other reasons. Some people have changed their minds for example on women's ministry and same-sex relationships when they have experienced the ministry of a woman priest in the one case, or discovered their own son or daughter to be gay in the other.
Holy Scripture itself is far more nuanced, subtle and complex than we often realise... We cannot just quote Biblical texts on different subject matters and think that that settles an issue.’
Referring to how the Church has previously changed its position on issues such as divorce and re-marriage, the Archbishop spoke about the need for the Church to continue to discuss the issue of same-sex marriage and decide the matter as a whole with patience, empathy, and an eye to the role of the Church within wider society.
‘Whatever our viewpoints, I hope that our discussions can be charitable’ said the Archbishop.
In response, Stonewall Cymru’s director, Andrew White said today:
‘We’ve always been clear that the church’s right to decide for itself on same sex marriage is
an important matter of religious freedom.
The Archbishop has been consistent in his support for LGBT equality. The discussion the Church in Wales are about to enter involves real people, real lives. We know that it will be followed intensely by many same sex couples in Wales, their families, friends and communities. Dr Morgan’s reminder to those gathered about the importance not just of the substance of the debate, but of its tone is therefore very welcome indeed.’