Welsh may lift ban on marriage of divorcees

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The Independent Online
WELSH Anglican leaders last night agreed to reconsider the ban on divorcees marrying in church.

The overwhelming vote broke new ground in the attitude of the Church in Wales to modern marriage, giving Welsh Anglican bishops the go-ahead to draw up a Bill to change the law. But it may be at least another two years before divorcees are allowed to walk up the aisle with the full approval of the Church.

If passed, the measure would go further than current practice in the Church of England, where conducting the marriage of divorced people is left to the discretion of individual priests in consultation with their bishop.

During an emotional debate at the governing body's meeting in Lampeter, Dyfed, pleas for change were made by two divorcees, both active in the life of the Church.

Sue Knight, from Swansea, said: 'I made a mistake. The pain and hurt are still there. But I know God has forgiven me and I ask the governing body of the Church to do likewise.'

Susan Owen, of Bangor, deserted 20 years ago and who could remarry 10 years ago only in a civil wedding, said: 'The pain of the Church's official attitude still remains with me.'

The Bishop of Bangor, the Rt Rev Barry Morgan, leading the campaign for reform, appealed for compassion but pledged there would be no 'blanket acceptance' of divorcees in remarriage.

'We do not advocate that anybody can come at any time and as many times as they like and be remarried in church without any questions being asked,' he said.

'But relationships do break down and the church of God has the responsibility of dealing sensitively and with integrity with those who find themselves in this situation.'

Only about 30 of the 350 members of the governing body, comprising bishops, clergy and laity, opposed the motion.