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Gay couple turned away by 31 churches finally tie the knot

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A gay couple who were rejected 31 times for a church wedding have finally tied the knot.

Shane Yerrell, 39, and David Sparrey, 30, finally said “I do” at Wanstead United Reformed Church in London on 21 October.

Shane said: “Honestly, I’d all but given up. But when I spoke to [Reverend] Tessa I was literally shouting with joy and jumping round the room. David didn’t believe me.

“When we met Tessa she said, ‘I can see you love each other, love is love’. It was the most amazing feeling.

“She said, ‘Everyone deserves to marry the person they love’ – and she’s right.”

The couple from Waltham Abbey in Essex met through a mutual friend in 2014 and were an item by 2016.

Electrical engineer David then proposed on a beach on a family holiday in Crete, and the couple brought the wedding forward by two years.

Both men are Christians who attend church every six weeks and were set on the traditions of a church wedding.

Shane, who is deputy mayor for Waltham Abbey and a councillor for Epping Forest, said he then spent up to 15 hours on the phone trying to find a venue.

David described the day as ‘the perfect wedding’

(Ellie Stewart / SWNS)

The couple say they were rejected 31 times – before Reverend Dr Tessa Henry-Robsinson said yes.

“The day was so special. That church was a light at the end of a tunnel. They are so brave and we will always be so grateful to them,” said Shane.

“It really wasn’t easy but it was more than worth it all. We thought it would never happen. It was like [the churches] were all reading a script – ‘We’d love to, but no’.”

More than 100 guests joined the happy couple to witness their union.

David said: “It was a day I’ll never forget. We were surrounded by so much love on the day. It was the perfect wedding.

“We were over the moon when the church agreed to marry us. Everything felt complete. I had hoped Shane’s patience and determination would pay off and it did.”

Shane added: “It was so moving, overwhelming – I could hardly believe it. It really was the most special moment.

Shane Yerrell (left) and David Sparrey said they felt ‘overwhelmed’

(Ellie Stewart / SWNS)

“Gay people just don’t think it is possible, but if you are a same-sex couple and you want to get married in a church just don’t give up.

“I think a lot of churches are frightened of a backlash – people saying it isn’t what the bible says,” he continued.

“But I think they could find a way of interpreting that for themselves and making it possible, after all, love is love no matter whether you’re gay or straight.”

Reverend Henry-Robinson told MyLondon: “It is a proud moment for us at Wanstead United Reformed Church to be the first to bring this good news to its community.”

Same-sex marriage was legalised in the UK in 2013 and the first marriages took place in early 2014.

However, according to the Church of England website, the law prevents its ministers of from carrying out same-sex marriages.

It adds that although there are no authorised services for blessing a same-sex civil marriage, your local church can still support you with prayer.

Additional reporting by SWNS