First church in Warwickshire to get licence for same-sex weddings

Members of Warwick Unitarian Chapel which will host its first same-sex wedding next month.
Members of Warwick Unitarian Chapel which will host its first same-sex wedding next month.

Warwick Unitarian chapel has become the first in the county to be given a gay-marriage licence with the first wedding to take place next month.

The chapel applied for a licence after a change in the law last year and has now been granted approval from the General Register Office.

Two members of the congregation will become the first gay couple to celebrate their marriage at the chapel at the end of July.

Malcolm Burns, chair of Warwick Unitarians, said: “We are proud to announce the chapel has been approved for the solemnisation of marriages of same-sex couples.

“We are the only church in Warwickshire to be registered so far, I believe.”

Unitarianism as an organised faith has roots going back well over 350 years. Its historic roots are in Christianity, but its early leaders were persecuted by the state and by the established church.

Unitarians have been active in Warwick since 1635. The chapel, located on High Street, opposite Lord Leycester Hospital, was built in 1781 and has for many years been a popular wedding venue.

Mr Burns added: “The Unitarian Church is a liberal religious community which welcomes people of all faiths and none. It imposes no creed or dogmas on its members.

“We don’t believe that Christianity has a monopoly on the truth, so we are free to seek inspiration from all the great world faiths, and from poets and philosophers.

“This means that our wedding services can, within certain formal limitations, reflect the beliefs of the participants. Every wedding ceremony is unique and the minister works to ensure that the ceremony reflects the wishes and beliefs of the couple.

“A Unitarian wedding may include some of the traditional aspects of a wedding ceremony, but couples are encouraged to create a ceremony which is right for them.”