A group of African bishops have said they are ‘deeply troubled’ by the lack of action against clergy flouting the ban on same-sex marriage.

Hospital chaplain Jeremy Pemberton was the first priest to defy the Church’s ban on same-sex marriages for clergy, wedding his partner Laurence Cunnington a fortnight ago.

The group expressed concern over the Church of England’s lack of decisive action, which could spark fears of a split in the Anglican church.

They said yesterday that it was “very concerning” that the ban was being “openly disregarded”.

They added: “We look to the Church of England to give clear leadership as moral confusion about the status of marriage [in England] deepening.”

Pemberton is facing disciplinary action over his decision to defy the ban and marry his partner, but it is not known yet what form this will take.

Earlier this month, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby warned that African Anglicans, who make up half the global total, could face persecution if the church backed same-sex marriage.

He said that Africans could attack churches over the move, because they would fear that Anglicans ‘make people become homosexual’.

The Church of Scotland is currently facing a possible split, over plans to allow gay ministers.