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Church of England pressed to end ban on same-sex marriage

Nick Duffy April 13, 2019
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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivers a speech at the annual Lord Mayor's banquet on November 13, 2017 in London, England.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivers a speech at the annual Lord Mayor's banquet on November 13, 2017 in London, England. (Leon Neal/Getty)

A new campaign has launched, calling on the Church of England to end its ban on same-sex weddings.

The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England launched on Friday (April 12), seeking an end to rules that ban same-sex weddings in Church parishes, and an end to rules that target gay vicars for getting married.

The campaign, led by several members of the clergy, launches exactly five years after hospital chaplain Jeremy Pemberton defied the Church’s rules to marry his same-sex partner, which led to the removal of his permission to officiate.

Church of England clergy: It is time to embrace same-sex marriage

Revd Andrew Foreshew-Cain, said: “We congratulate Jeremy and Laurence on their wedding anniversary, and rejoice with the many same-gender couples who have made lifelong, faithful commitments to each other in marriage in recent years.

“The Church of England has spent too many years saying it is sorry for the way that it treats LGBT+ people, whilst continuing its own injustice towards us in marriage and ministry. It is time for what is done to match what is said.”

Church of England Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (Dan Kitwood/Getty)

Revd Canon Rosie Harper, member of church’s General Synod, added: “Marriage ‘enriches society and strengthens community’, as the C of E wedding service says, and the Church should be open to all loving couples who want to make that commitment, regardless of their sexuality.

“I welcome this campaign and look for the day when I can welcome gay and lesbian couples to my church for their wedding day.”

Revd Dr Nicholas Bundock, of St James and Emmanuel, Didsbury, added: “It is time for the Church of England to start to heal the hurt and pain it has caused to LGBT+ people and to welcome and bless their faithful, loving relationships in church.

“Marriage is a gift of God to all people.”

Gay Church of England weddings would require change in UK law

Permitting same-sex marriage in Church of England parishes would require a change in the law, as the 2013 Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act explicitly barred the Church of England and the Church in Wales from conducting same-sex marriages as part of a ‘quadruple lock’ to appease religious opponents of same-sex marriage.

Several other churches within the Anglican Communion, including the US Episcopal Church and the Scottish Episcopal Church, have embraced same-sex unions, while the Anglican Church of Canada is also in the process of making reforms.

However, the Church of England has been more resistant to change.

The current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has also previously handed rebukes to the US and Scottish churches for embracing same-sex weddings.

More: campaign, Church of England, LGBT, Religion

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