A priest in Worcester has questioned why the Church of England opposes same-sex marriage and says “nothing short of equality is equality.”

Reverend Canon David Rogers, associate priest for the parish of St Martin with St Peter, believes civil partnerships lack “the rich tradition of marriage”.

Writing in a parish magazine, the Ludlow Advertiser reports Canon Rogers said: “For a while I questioned whether gay marriage was the right thing. Was marriage a uniquely heterosexual institution, and was something different needed for gays? But what do you call the ‘something different’?

“The vocabulary doesn’t exist. Civil partnership is good as far as it goes, but is chiefly a legal contract designed to protect assets and next-of-kin rights. It lacks the rich tradition of marriage – a covenant between two people akin to the covenant of God with humanity.”

Canon Rogers continued: “And apart from anatomy, what distinguishes partners of different genders and same-sex partners? Gay couples experience the same challenges and rewards in marriage as straight couples.

“The care and nurture of children may be common to both. Eventually I realised that nothing except marriage is marriage, and nothing short of equality is equality.”

He added: “Marrying people is one of the things the Church does best. But we need to be more humble about it. We do not own marriage. We act on society’s behalf in serving those who come to be married. If we insist on acting as gate-keeper, fewer will come in.”

In May, the Church of England reaffirmed its opposition to equal marriage following coverage of PinkNews’ exclusive interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Last month, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Rowan Williams, said he had “no problem” with legal parity for same-sex couples, but claimed the state rushed into “redefining” marriage.