Britain’s most senior openly gay cleric, has spoken out to say that God wants gay people to be able to share loving, monogamous relationships, the same as for straight couples.

The Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, spoke at a special Gay Pride service preaching to 300 in St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, where he reflected on his struggle with his sexuality, reports the Church Times.

He said: “In the end I reached the firm conclusion that what God wants for most gay people is exactly the same as he wants for most non gay people, which is, to find someone to love and care for, for life. In a word: monogamy.

“It has always been obvious to me, and I think it is instinctively obvious to most people, that being in a secure, committed relationship with someone you love and want to share your life with is likely to maximise the health and happiness of both of you.”

He went on to say that it was not a “wishful” outcome, but instead, would be the result of “a lot of prayer and theology. . . If, as St Paul says, God blesses marriage because the love of two people can reflect his love for us, then that obviously applies to gay people just as much, provided their relationship is based on the same covenant and the same commitment. I couldn’t see, and I still can’t see, that anything in scripture condemns that.”

Speaking of his personal and professional commitment to the Church of England. He said: “Lots of people have asked me over the last ten years, and no doubt they have asked you the same thing: ‘Why do you stay in the Church? Why do you bother with this awful institution that keeps on humiliating you and beating you up?’ Well, now you know. I have had absolutely no choice. . . Who in their right mind would stay unless they knew the love of Christ was calling them?”

Dr Jeffrey John has several times been speculated upon as the possible first openly-gay Church of England Bishop. In June, he was tipped as a strong contender to become the next Bishop of Monmouth.

Back in January 2012, Dr John threatened to sue the Church of England unless it promoted him to Bishop.

The Very Rev Jeffrey John has twice been overlooked to become a bishop due his sexuality. Dr John is in celibate civil partnership.

The 60-year-old, was forced to give up his appointment as Bishop of Reading in 2003 due to his sexuality and was blocked from the post Bishop of Southwark in 2010.

Speaking to the Public Bills Committee in February, to give evidence in favour of equal marriage, Dr John said he thought it would be “more Christian” to allow individual parishes to make up their own minds on equal marriage.

Speaking in an Out4Marriage video last year, Dr John said: “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.”