Canon ‘banned from taking services’ after flouting Church of England’s gay wedding ban
A Church of England clergyman who married his same-sex partner has been banned from taking services.
Ahead of the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2014, the Church’s House of Bishops opted to enforce a ban on clergy marrying same-sex partners, despite allowing opposite-sex weddings.
The rules have since been used to punish a number of gay clergymen simply for getting married – with Canon Jeremy Davies the latest to be punished.
Davies has served as Canon Precentor at Salisbury Cathedral for over two decades – and last year tied the knot to his long-term partner, opera singer Simon McEnery.
However, this month the Diocese of Winchester has opted to block Canon Davies from holding services in Winchester Cathedral… because he married his partner of nearly thirty years.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Winchester said: “Canon Jeremy Davies made an application earlier this year for permission to officiate in the Diocese of Winchester.
“Due to the Church of England’s position on same sex marriage, as set out in the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance, Canon Jeremy Davies has been informed that his application has been unsuccessful.”
The decision is the latest in a string of cases testing the rules.
Canon Jeremy Pemberton was the first member of the Church of England clergy to enter into a same-sex marriage, when he wed his partner Laurence Cunnington last April.
He later had his permission to officiate revoked by a Bishop. This meant he was prevented from taking up a job, as he was declined the correct licences.
Canon Pemberton filed an Equality Act claim in the Employment Tribunal, alleging that the Church had discriminated against him because of his sexuality – but the tribunal found against him due to the Church’s exemptions from equality legislation.
Campaigners have complained that the rules are not consistently enforced, as it is often down to the individual diocese to take action.
Popular London vicar Andrew Foreshew-Cain married his partner last year, and was subsequently elected to the Church’s General Synod.
More: Church, Church of England, civil partnership, civil union, equal marriage, Gay, gay weddings, lesbian, lesbian wedding, LGBT, marriage, marriage equality, Religion, same sex weddings, Union, wedding