Prayers for same-sex couples at Canterbury Cathedral

On 18 June, Canterbury Cathedral issued the following Press Release on offering prayers for same sex couples.

Canterbury Cathedral to offer Prayers of Love and Faith for same-sex couples

Same-sex couples already in civil partnerships[1] or civil marriages, or who have sealed a covenanted friendship, can now be offered Prayers of Love and Faith at Canterbury Cathedral, following a unanimous decision by the Dean and governing Chapter. This step has already been taken by many churches and cathedrals.

These prayers will be offered within regular services of public worship for same-sex couples who love one another and who wish to give thanks for and mark that love in faith before God, and who are part of the Cathedral community. Those eligible to ask for these prayers include our regular congregations, those living in Cathedral properties adjacent to the Cathedral, and those with a strong pastoral connection to the Cathedral community from amongst our staff, clergy, and volunteers.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Revd Justin Welby, and the Bishop of Dover, The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who have no direct role in the Governance of the Cathedral, were consulted, following the guidance commended by the Bishops of the Church of England in December 2023.

It is not currently possible to hold stand-alone services of blessing, same-sex weddings, or civil partnerships.

[1] A civil partnership is a legal relationship which can be registered by two people who aren’t related to each other. Civil partnerships are available to both same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples (see Citizens Advice website)


The Church of England Press Release of 12 December 2023 explains that a selection of readings and prayers of thanksgiving, dedication and asking for God’s blessing for same-sex couples could be used in Church of England services for the first time from Sunday, 17 December 2023, following approval by the House of Bishops.

As the recent communication from Canterbury Cathedral notes, “this step has already been taken by many churches and cathedrals”. Noting the significance of the announcement, Kaya Burgess comments “Canterbury Cathedral has become the highest profile church to offer blessings to gay couples since they were legalised by the Church of England”.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Prayers for same-sex couples at Canterbury Cathedral" in Law & Religion UK, 20 June 2024,


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