Same-Sex Couples

As a same-sex couple, can we have a service at all?

Yes!

We are very happy to welcome you for a service of prayer and thanksgiving following a civil marriage or civil partnership at the Registry Office.

Can we get married in S. Mary’s Bickleigh or S. Edward’s Shaugh Prior?

No. Sadly.

It is not possible for Gay and Lesbian couples to be legally married in a Church of England church.  This is the current legal position and until Parliament and the General Synod of the Church or England  change the law it will not be possible. We are part of the Church striving to change this, but change is a slow thing in the Church, and we will not stop until marriage is fully equal, as a supporter of the Campaign for Equal Marriage. In the meantime…

Can we exchange rings in church?

Yes – of course.

Can we make promises to one another in church?

Yes – of course.

Bells? Organ? Photographs? Confetti?

Yes – of course, on the same terms as for any other wedding.

What order of service can we use?

We will help you put together a service that is meaningful for you as a couple and that speaks of of God’s love and the wonderful love expressed in your relationship.

So could we register a Civil Partnership at S. Mary’s Bickleigh or S. Edward’s Shaugh Prior

No – The Church of England does not allow Civil Partnerships to be registered in its churches. If you want a Civil Partnership then you need to have that conducted by a registrar, you could come to church after a Civil Partnership in the same way as following a civil marriage. Now that mixed sex Civil Partnerships are possible, we are also willing to offer the same kind of commitment service and blessing that we offer to same-sex marriages or civil partnerships.

What would it cost?

There are no legal fees associated with a service following a Civil Partnership or Marriage. We therefore ask simply for a voluntary contribution of £130 which we ask you to Gift Aid, if possible .

The costs of bells, organist, decorating church, orders of service etc are therefore all the same as for weddings.

What does the rest of the church think about same-sex couples being married?

The Church of England like other Christian Churches is made up of different people with divided views about same-sex couples getting married, as they do about lots of things.

Doesn’t the Bible have bad things to say about gay couples? 

The Bible has a lot to say about a lot of things. The clergy and others in the congregation will be happy to chat more about how we understand the Bible in relation to same-sex couples. There are LGBTQ people in our congregation and ministry team. We believe that gay people and straight people are equally blessed and loved by God and that the Bible teaches us that this is so.

It is a gay church then?

Our four Churches are all working to be open, inclusive and welcoming. We don’t think that God’s love is limited – straight people are loved by God just as much as gay and lesbian people are loved by God.

Who do I talk to about this?

Speak to Fr Simon, the Vicar whom you can contact directly using details at the bottom of this page