Long-running BBC1 show Songs of Praise received a range of responses when it broadcast the first same-sex wedding to be aired on the programme last month, both in support and opposition.
The episode, broadcast in mid-August, has provoked a mixed response in the weeks since it made TV history. After the congregation of the Rutherglen United Reformed Church, close to Glasgow, endorsed the decision, Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall’s ceremony was shared with the nation.
The programme promoted some 1,200 complaints, with some viewers objecting to the marriage being broadcast during a religious programme. Around 400 letters of appreciation were also received, however, with those in favour of the move welcoming the BBC’s decision to reflect modern religion rather than what are seen by some as outdated attitudes.
One half of the newlywed couple, Jamie Wallace, told the BBC that it had been his dream to marry in the presence of his church’s congregation.
Songs of Praise was initially devoted to hymns when first broadcast in 1961, but has since started cover stories of religious people’s lives in addition to traditional music.
The couple wore matching outfits, teaming a monochrome tartan kilt apiece with grey jackets and a rich purple tie. Wedding invitations were extended to attendees of the Rutherglen United Reformed Church.
Stonewall, a charity representing LGBT people, admitted that there were many “different opinions in faith communities”, but said that, equally, many religious leaders and devotees were “passionate about LGBT equality”.