Dr Jeffrey John, Britain’s highest-ranking out gay cleric has slammed the Church of England, saying that they are pursuing a “morally contemptible” policy on marriage equality.

Dr John, the Dean of St Albans, has also taken Dr Rowan Williams to task for doing a U-turn on the issue as soon as he was made Archbishop of Canterbury.

In the Guardian, Lizzy Davies wrote: “In a new preface to his 1990 booklet on gay relationships [John] writes that, by setting themselves against same-sex marriage, the bishops of the Church have prioritised the union of the Anglican communion over the rights of gay Christians.”

Dr John has also stated that he believes the Church of England’s attitude toward homosexuality and lesbianism has in fact calcified:

“This policy may be institutionally expedient, but it is morally contemptible . . . Worst of all, by appeasing their persecutors it betrays the truly heroic gay Christians of Africa who stand up for justice and truth at risk of their lives.

“For the mission of the Church of England the present policy is a disaster.”

Last month, Dr John made a video for Out4Marriage in which he said:

“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.”

In January, it was reported that Dr John had hired Alison Downie, one of Britain’s leading Equality Act lawyers to take on a discrimination case against the Church of England over its refusal to appoint him bishop due to his same-sex relationship. It was said Dr John was no longer personally interested in becoming a bishop, but wanted to clear the way for other gay clergy to gain promotion.