Churches should hold gay weddings in order to 'market' themselves to potential new worshippers, a study has found. Academics in the University of Leeds and York said in a report that receiving a license to carry out the services can be "a positive ‘brand’ for a place of worship".
The commitment to same-sex marriage "can provide a vehicle for articulating the broader values of the place of worship to a wide audience," the paper says. Churches can even benefit from becoming known as "the gay church", it suggests.
Places of worship must actively "opt in" to carry out the weddings, and just 182 are thought to have done so since the law was changed in 2014. More than 40,000 places of worship allow heterosexual couples to marry, the researchers found.
The paper said: "As one Unitarian church reported, the commitment to same-sex marriage ‘gives us something distinctive to promote’. Read more via Telegraph