A gay couple have had their same-sex wedding blessed at a ceremony in St Paul’s Cathedral in Dundee, the first of its kind to take place in the historic church.
Paul Hastie and Steven Gray were married recently in Dundee’s registry office but, being Christians, also wanted their union celebrated in church. The Scottish Episcopal Church agreed to bless their marriage in a special ceremony on Saturday.
Paul has been a member of the church for many years and joined the choir aged 12. Both Paul and Steven were thrilled to have been able to have the religious service, which was attended by over 100 people. They were also aware that they were making history – Paul told The Courier that “this is a momentous occasion and a first for the Scottish Episcopal Church in Dundee and the cathedral’s 160-year history.”
He also hinted at the battles he and Steven have had to fight: “For us to have our ceremony in this building was so important. It has been a long, hard slog but love is love, regardless of gender.”
Steven said that the day had been “amazing from start to finish” and added: “I really hope this helps move things forward and there comes a day when marriage is just marriage, without the need to say ‘same-sex’ marriage.”
The Scottish Episcopal Church is currently involved in an internal discussion on same-sex unions and recently began a process to “decide whether to bring same-sex marriage into its life theologically and liturgically” – effectively making a decision on whether its clergy can conduct same-sex marriages.
Until a final vote takes place, which is likely to see the church “opt-in” while adopting a conscience clause, clergy are able to bless unions but not actually conduct marriages.
The Very Rev Jeremy Auld, the Provost of St Paul’s Cathedral, said during the ceremony: “Sadly at this point in the law we cannot yet marry them here but we can give them the Church’s blessing on their marriage and I’m really pleased to do this.
“This is a pretty historic moment in this church and this cathedral, as it is the very first in Dundee and most of Scotland. Finally we in the Church can celebrate human love as a gift from God irrespective of gender.”
Auld also used the opportunity to take on those who argue that same-sex relationships are unbiblical. He explained: “Many who are shocked, whether in a good way or a bad way, will say that the Bible condemns same-sex relationships, and yes it does, in the Old Testament, along with a list of prohibitions including wearing cotton and wool together, or going near a menstruating woman.
“We have learned such rules were of their time and place, and all these Biblical references have nothing to do with stable and loving relationships. Paul and Steven’s is such a relationship.”