First gay church wedding held in Bournemouth

Jan Tipper and Barb Burden's wedding Jan Tipper and Barb Burden's wedding was held at Bournemouth's Metropolitan Community Church

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A same-sex couple have been married in Bournemouth, in what is believed to be the UK's first gay wedding ceremony held in a church.

Jan Tipper and Barb Burden were married at the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) on Sunday.

Gay marriage became legal in England and Wales last month but the move was not supported by the Church of England.

Reverend Dwayne Morgan, who officiated, said the church had "taken pride in celebrating diversity".

While many same-sex couples have married since the law changed on 29 March, he said this was the first ceremony to be conducted in a religious building.

The couple said it was "very significant" to them to be married in the church they had attended for 15 years.

'Oppressive laws'

Ms Burden said: "Even though we've been together for almost 19 years, it didn't feel right for us to have just a blessing or even a civil partnership.

"We've hoped for years for the opportunity to legally marry and, once it became possible, we knew it was time for us to tie the knot and to do it before God in our church with our friends and family."

MCC was established in Bournemouth in 1979 and is associated with the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, which has churches in over 40 countries.

Mr Morgan said the government had "finally caught up with us" as the church had been blessing gay couples for more than three decades.

He said: "Through years of homophobia and oppressive laws against gay people, MCC has taken pride in celebrating diversity and striving to include everyone. We do our best to get the word out that while many of Jesus's followers discriminate, Jesus himself does not."

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