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California Wedding

2014 July 29
by Gordon Reid


While I was Chaplain of the English Church in Stockholm, in 1991, I introduced David McConnachie to Magnus Allansson. Last Saturday I married them in San Jose, California. Even though I live on the other side of America, they insisted that I must be the priest to marry them. I am of course greatly flattered and honored to be their choice, but I am also deeply thankful that the law of California has recently changed, making same-sex weddings possible, and also that the Church (or at least my bit of it) has recognized that homosexuals have the same God-given wish to be united and to share their lives with a partner as have those who are attracted to the opposite sex.

We are at the beginning of a process (because there are other Churches who deny that this is either possible or desirable) which will fulfill St Paul’s powerful declaration “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female; but ye are all one in Christ Jesus our Lord”. It took the early Church some decades before they recognized the truth of the first of these statements – so against what their Bible (what we call the Old Testament) taught. And it took eighteen centuries before the Church recognized the abomination of slavery, even though it is clearly supported by bits of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Even St Paul never made it that far: “Slaves, obey your masters” he once wrote. However, I am sure it is now by his powerful intercession that at least some of the Church is abolishing this last discrimination, by blessing the marriages of same-sex couples.

I was humbled to think that God had used that one little action of mine in 1991 in Stockholm to bring about the 22 years of loving partnership that Mac and Magnus have already shared. I am also proud to be part of this nation, which has welcomed Jew and Greek and many others to its shores, has abolished slavery at the cost of great suffering, and is now leading the way in granting all people the right to live together in matrimony.

4 Responses leave one →
  1. Paul Emmons permalink
    July 31, 2014

    Beautiful, and an honor for all concerned. A great compliment in my life was when a former rector asked me to play for the wedding of his daughter over a hundred miles away, paying any expenses. It was an even greater one when that daughter, some twenty years later , called on me as organist for her own daughter’s wedding. Such pleasures are rare.

    A decade or two ago, this event might have caused an uproar from the majority of Clementines. Now I think only a very small minority, if anyone, would object. While I’m as conservative as ever in many respects, this change, in which you have taken a lead, is one to celebrate.

  2. July 31, 2014

    Congratulations to the grooms and to the presiding priest!

    Thank you for showing the world that traditional Christianity is compatible with marriage-for-all!

  3. Rev Dr Mark Barwick permalink
    July 31, 2014

    Wonderfully written. I will use it in venues where I am called upon to speak on behalf of LGBT equality. Thank You.


    Associate Rector, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Waterloo, Belgium
    Vicar, Christ Church, Charleroi, Belgium

  4. Mac & Magnus permalink
    August 31, 2014

    Yes, a beautifully written contribution to make our special day complete. Thanks for the other kind words Happily Married M&M

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