Gay Couple Claims 31 Churches Refused to Marry Them: ‘I Had All But Given Up’
A gay couple finally tied the knot after 31 churches refused to hold their wedding ceremony.
At first, U.K. couple Shane Yerrell and David Sparrey wanted to wait to wed. However, after experiencing a family health issue, they decided to tie the knot. They had always envisioned a wedding at a church, as they are both Christians. And so, Sparrey began the search for a wedding venue.
However, according to MyLondon News, the couple were denied by 31 churches, seemingly due to their sexual orientation. Sparrey spent roughly 15 hours on the phone trying to find a church that was willing to host their ceremony.
Finally, the couple’s prayers were answered. Wanstead United Reformed Church in London were happy to host the ceremony, which took place Oct. 21.
“Honestly, I'd all but given up. But when I spoke to [Reverend] Tessa I was literally shouting with joy and jumping round the room. David didn't believe me. When we met Tessa she said, 'I can see you love each other, love is love'. It was the most amazing feeling," Sparrey told MyLondon News.
“She said, 'Everyone deserves to marry the person they love' — and she's right,” he continued, calling the church “a light at the end of a tunnel.”
“It really wasn't easy but it was more than worth it all. We thought it would never happen. It was like [the churches] were all reading a script - ‘We'd love to, but no,'" Sparrey added.
Sparrey, who met Yerrell through a mutual friend in 2014 before the pair began dating in 2016, proposed during a family vacation in Crete.
“Gay people just don't think it is possible, but if you are a same-sex couple and you want to get married in a church just don't give up,” Sparrey told the outlet. “I think a lot of churches are frightened of a backlash ... people saying it isn't what the bible says. But I think they could find a way of interpreting that for themselves and making it possible, after all, love is love no matter whether you're gay or straight.”
Same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.K. in 2013, with the first ceremony being held in 2014. Despite this, the Church of England’s official website states that its ministers cannot perform same-sex marriages, though some churches can support LGBTQ+ members with other types of services, such as performing blessings and ritual ceremonies.