PREPARING to marry at the Church of Our Lady, the Lutheran cathedral in Copenhagen, this month, Nigel Rowley had felt nervous that its vast space would feel a little empty. When the doors opened, he saw the pews full of people, including many from his church, St Alban’s, there to support him and Mikel Lindbæk, who is now his husband. He felt “ecstatic”, he said this week.
Having attended St Alban’s, the Anglican Church in Copenhagen, for 30 years, he decided to get married in the Church of Denmark, where gay marriages have been solemnised since 2012. A member of both the deanery and diocesan synods, he felt that it was “very important” that he marry in church, “not just a blessing, but . . . the full works”. The service was conducted by the Bishop of Copenhagen, the Rt Revd Peter Skov-Jakobsen, and the choir of St Alban’s sang alongside the cathedral singers.
There is “no doubt” in Mr Rowley’s mind that the Church of England should permit same-sex marriage in its churches. “We should be celebrating love, and that was Christ’s message,” he said. “I am quite sure that Christ would approve. Otherwise I would not be getting married in the cathedral in Denmark.”
He met Mr Lindbæk six and a half years ago at a gay bar in Copenhagen, and said that members of St Alban’s had been “so kind and warm” to him. “I want to say thank you to everyone who made our day such a wonderful day,” he said. “An awful lot of people from all around . . . came and supported us, and that was just wonderful.”
An open letter calling on the Bishops to relax the rules against gay marriage is expected to be published next week. It is understood that it has been been signed by priests who have entered into same-sex marriages, including a number who have converted their civil partnerships.