Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall became the first same-sex couple to broadcast their wedding on Songs of Praise. (BBC)
The BBC’s Songs of Praise broke new ground on Sunday by broadcasting its first-ever same-sex wedding, much to the delight of the LGBT+ community.
This week’s episode of the long-running faith show featured the wedding of Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall, two gay men from Scotland.
Cameras followed the couple as they exchanged vows at Glasgow’s Rutherglen United Reformed Church, one of the few churches in the UK to welcome same-sex marriages.
It marked the first time that Songs of Praise has acknowledged marriage equality in its 58-year history, stirring emotions for both religious and non-religious viewers.
As a 17 year old made to feel all sorts of negative emotions being openly gay at a catholic boarding school, this is big! And although I’m no longer a Christian, it’s amazing to witness the Church ⛪️ emerging into the 21st century!! 🏳️🌈🌈https://t.co/Hm5k6cgT7N
— Benj😆 (@ontheh00d) August 17, 2019
Watching a church embrace two men get married is truly joyful. Everyone should be free to love & be with whoever they want. As a gay Christian, I look forward to the day when same sex couples can get married in all churches. Hopefully I’ll be one of them!! 🏳️🌈🌈⛪💖 #SongsofPraise pic.twitter.com/aBAyk0ihW5
— Cllr Joe Porter 🇬🇧 (@JoePorterUK) August 18, 2019
Three years ago before I tweeted about 🥐, I was live tweeting #songsofpraise episodes. So this is one of those full circle, means the world to my Queer heart moments
— Joey (@JoeyKnock) August 16, 2019
One viewer spotted what he thought was a subtle piece of political commentary.
— Bryan Manley-Green 🏳️🌈 🇪🇺 #FBPE (@BryanMGLibDem) August 18, 2019
While another thanked the BBC for showing another side to Christianity.
Home from Tough Mudder, and catching up with #SongsofPraise over a Chinese. Thank you @BBCSoP for the section on same sex marriage. Good to see that not all Christians are anti-gay. That means a lot to me.
— Robin Fox (@RevRobinFox) August 18, 2019
Songs of Praise‘s gay groom always wanted church wedding.
Wallace’s mother said her son had “always wanted to get married in a church”.
“It means the whole world,” she said. “[His faith is] very important to him, ever since he was a wee boy.”
But during the show, his new husband acknowledged that there will be those in the church who remain opposed to their union.
Jesus preaches about love, inclusion, kindness, compassion.
“Jesus preaches about love, inclusion, kindness, compassion,” McDowell said.
“A good lady who comes to this church told us in one of our discussions, people will change, and don’t underestimate older people, either. They just need to think about it, and they’ll get there one day.”
Most churches continue to ban same-sex weddings.
Marriage equality was introduced to England and Wales in 2013, and to Scotland in 2014.
Same-sex marriages are welcomed by a handful of other faith groups in the UK , including the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Unitarian Church, the Quakers, the Unitarian Church and Liberal Judaism.
The Church of England remains opposed to marriage equality, despite pressure from clergy groups and support from Anglicans.
The United Reform Church (URC) voted to allow same-sex weddings to take place in its churches in 2016.
As Rev. Andy Braunston explained to Songs of Praise, it is down to individual congregations as to whether they perform same-sex weddings.
“We didn’t want to carry on arguing about it so we decided to live with he difference,” he said.