Dr Jeffrey John, the gay Dean of St Albans, has said God would be in favour of government plans to allow gay couples to marry and said the Church of England’s opposition “doesn’t deserve to be listened to”.
The most senior openly gay cleric in the Church said the institution was talking “without integrity” when it opposed an equal right to a civil marriage for gay couples.
His video is published the day before he is due to attend a reception for the LGBT community hosted by the prime minister at Number 10 Downing Street.
Dr John said he was “very glad about and grateful for” the government’s commitment to legislate for marriage equality by 2015.
He says: “But I am also sad because the Church that I love and serve is opposing it, when it should be rejoicing at it. And sad because the Church is meant is show Christ’s face to the world and on this subject, it doesn’t.
“The Gospel says that God is love; the Doctrine of the Trinity says that God Himself exists as a Union of Persons in love and that He made us in His own image. In other words, He made us persons who are capable of loving one another as He loves us. The Church calls marriage holy and a sacrament because when two people love another so much that they want to be united for life, then that commitment, that covenant of love between them, reflects something of God’s own nature, His kind of loving in us.
“When we love somebody so much that we really do care more about them than we do ourselves, then we have found the greatest thing in life – the holiest part of us.”
Of the argument that gay couples should not be allowed to marry because they cannot conceive children themselves, he says: ” It’s true that a gay couple can’t have children together, but then again neither can a hetreosexual couple if they are infertile or past the age of childbearing. The Church has never refused to marry a hetreosexual couple that can’t have children, so why refuse gay couples?”
In a plea to gay people who are affected by the opposition, he says: “If you are gay, please don’t judge God by the Church. The official Church doesn’t speak with integrity on this issue and so, frankly, doesn’t deserve to be listened to.
“If you are gay, then please understand that God made you as you are, and loves you as you are, and if you invite Him into your relationship, then of course He will bless you and sustain your love just as much as He blesses and sustains any other marriage.
“I know that’s true from my own experience and that’s why I’m Out4Marriage, because I’m sure God is too.”
Conor Marron, co-founder of the Coalition for Equal Marriage told PinkNews.co.uk: “Dr Jeffrey John’s words are a refreshing change for those of faith and those of no faith. They carry an important message: that the church, any church, is built upon the faith of its members, not the bricks of buildings or the hierarchy of its leaders. It is up to a church’s followers to dictate what is and is not acceptable, and we are encouraged that an increasing number of Church of England members are doing just that.”