In a historic decision, The Church of England has voted in favour of blessing same-sex marriages. However, it will continue to ban parishes and clergy from conducting such ceremonies.

The move to allow same-sex blessings was finally approved on the 9th of February during a meeting of the Church’s governing body (General Synod) following a six-year consultation period.

It has been reported that during the meeting, all three houses within the Church (bishops, clergy and house of laity) voted in favour of conducting the blessings.


In recent years, the Church has taken steps towards greater understanding and pastoral care for LGBTQ+ people, including the publication of guidance for clergy on how to support same-sex couples. The move will now allow parishes and clergy to bless same-sex unions. However, same-sex couples wishing to have their marriage blessed by the Church will still need to conduct a legal ceremony elsewhere, with unions still being banned.

Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell celebrated the decision saying same-sex couples “could now come to church and have that relationship acknowledged, celebrated and the couple receive a blessing”.

In contrast to Cottrell, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby – the most senior bishop in the Church of England, has confirmed that he will not be conducting such blessings himself, highlighting that the blessings are optional.

The Church of England has a complex history regarding LGBTQ+ issues. For much of its history, the Church held traditional views on sexuality and gender, and homosexuality was often seen as a sin.