Dozens of clergy, including Lord Harries, the former Bishop of Oxford, have signed a letter to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, coordinated by Changing Attitude, protesting the proposed ban on any Church of England solemnisation of same-sex marriages.
The letter reads, in full, as follows:
Lesbian and gay members of the Church of England and others who support the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are dismayed by the fourth element of the quadruple lock proposed by the Government, stating that it would be illegal for the Church to marry same-sex couples.
If the Bill is enacted in its present form, in 2014 married lesbian and gay Anglicans, lay and ordained, will be worshipping and ministering in parishes of the Church of England.
This will raise pastoral and legal questions for the Church. Will married lesbian and gay couples receive the same pastoral care the Church offers heterosexual married couples? Will the Church continue to discriminate against lesbian and gay clergy whether married or in civil partnerships? Will the Church continue to undermine the family relationships of its lesbian and gay members? Parents of gay children long to attend their children’s wedding service in church. Couples starting a family will look forward to the baptism of their children.
The Church of England has to consider how it will offer pastoral care and a generous welcome to married gay couples and their children. It is in crisis because of its failure to approve women bishops and the insistence that it maintain the right to discriminate against LGBT people by exemptions from equality legislation.
The Church needs to relinquish its exemption from the equal marriage Bill and address the expectation of the majority in every parish that it will continue to offer pastoral care to every citizen, including gay married couples and their children.
Until the Church of England allows clergy to solemnise same-sex marriages in our churches, as a matter of pastoral response those of us who are priests will counsel lesbian and gay members of our congregations to marry in those churches willing to celebrate faithful same-sex relationships.
Revd Colin Coward, Devizes, Director of Changing Attitude England, Anne Aitken, Southport, Tristan Alexander-Watts, Chelmsford, Dean Ayres, London, Erika Baker, Somerset Sally Barnes, London, Revd Al Barrett, Birmingham Joe Bayly, Liverpool, Revd Christina Beardsley, London, CA Trustee, Che Bee, Oxted, Surrey, Liz Bellinger, Lincoln, Rev Anne Bennett, Rochester, Dr Tony Bentley MRCGP, Houghton on the Hill, Leicestershire, Revd Dr Mike Benwell, Seacroft, Leeds, Judith Blackburn, Hackney, London Mrs Allannah Brennan, Birmingham Anne Brooke, Elstead, Surrey, Katie Brown, Frome, Somerset Revd Graham Buckle, London Abbot Stuart Burns OSB, Worcester Paul Burrows-Gibson, Southampton Rachma Bush, Radstock Revd Bob Callaghan, Canterbury Revd Tom Cameron, Hassocks Martin Carr, London Revd Richard Cattley, Maidenhead Revd Mark Chilcott, Manchester Dr Rob Clucas, Hull, CA Trustee Michael Craske, Southwark, London Marion Clutterbuck, West Dean, Salisbury Revd Prof James Meredith Day, Brussels, Belgium Fr Andy Delmege, Weoley Castle, Birmingham John Dinnen, London Revd Trevor Donnelly, Blackheath, London Revd Andrew Dotchin, Ipswich, Member of General Synod Stuart Dronsfield, Oldham Charlotte Elizabeth, Oxford Guy Elsmore, Liverpool Deborah Elston, Leicester Revd David Emmott, Liverpool Rob Evans, London Revd Stephen Flatt, London, Fr Steve Hardwicke, Cowley, Revd David Ford, Hucknall, Notts, Member of Religious Society of Friends, Phil Gardner, Leeds, Revd Ray Gaston, Tutor Queens Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education Birmingham, Dr Claire George, Cowley, Middlesex, Canon Giles Goddard, Waterloo, London, Pam Gold, Warrington , Revd Alice Goodman, Lady Hill, Laurence William Philip Gough, London, Prof. Russell Goulbourne, Hebden Bridge , Kes Grant, London, Brutus Green, London, Jay Greene, West Dean, Salisbury, Jonathan Gregson, Camberwell, London, Phil Groom, Langford, Beds, Matthew Hall, Rotherhithe, London, Revd Sue Hammersley, Sheffield, David Hammonds, Sedgley, Worcester, Chris Hansen, London, Revd Canon Rosie Harper, Amersham, Rt Revd Professor Lord Harries of Pentregarth - House of Lords, Revd Helen Hayes, Bradgate, Leicester, Revd Dr Keith Hebden, Pioneer Minister, Southwell and Notts., Bernadette Hegarty, Harrogate, Jeanette Holder, Winchester, Steve Howes, Belenden, Revd Chris Howson, Chaplain to Sunderland University, Revd Robert Hughes, Colchester, Roy Humphrey, London , Al Johns, Antwerp, Belgium, Hilary Johnson, Birmingham, CA Trustee, Mark Johnson, Wormelow Hundred, Herefordhsire, Revd Patrick Jordan, Downham, London, Revd John Joyce, Brighton, Katherine J Kaye, Oxford, Karen Kennedy, Revd Rosemary Lain-Priestly, London, Revd Clive Larsen, Manchester, CA Trustee, Kate Lee, Weston-super-Mare, Vicky Leggat-Green, Bristol, Dr Fiona Little, Durham, Gerry Lynch, churchwarden, Belfast, Davis Mac-Iyalla, Camden, London, Rev Clare MacLaren, Heaton, Bradford, Marcello Manca, Purley, Surrey, Anderson Marsh, Petersfield, Jo Marshall, Whitechapel, London, Richard Marshall, Alfreton, Derbyshire, Robert Marshall, Macclesfield , Darwin Marty Martin, Banbridge, Revd Hayley Matthews, Salford, Mediacity Chaplain, Revd Jean Mayland, Hexham, Ann Memmott, Reading, Sarah Moon, Newcastle upon Tyne, Revd Dr Georgina Morley, Durham, Fr Andrew Moughtin-Mumby, Walworth, London, Revd Bryony Morrison, Epping, Fr Andrew Moughtin-Mumby, London, Janet Murch, Barrow upon Humber, Canon Barry Naylor, Leicester, Revd Dr Mark Newitt, Sheffield, Leon Nicholls, London, Lynn McAdam O’Connell, Cork, Ireland, Revd Bertrand Olivier, London , Peter Owen, Liverpool, Michael Parish, Wrexham, Revd Kate Pearson, Birmingham, Canon Jeremy Pemberton, Southwell, Anthony Phelan, Oxford, Brenda Ramsden, Oxted, Ruairidh Reynolds, London, Revd Ben Rhodes, London, Fr Laurence J Roberts, London, Claire Robson, Bath, Tony Robson, Seaham, Christopher Rogers, London, Revd Sister Rosemary CHN, Member of General Synod, Revd David Rushton, London, Richard Sewell, Barnes, London, Dennis Shattell-Parkes, Canon Tony Shepherd, Harrogate, Marcus Small, Eardisley, Herefordshire, Carole Smith, Camberley, Surrey, Geoff Smith, Salisbury, Graham Smith, Sleaford, Lincolnshire (ordinand) , Kate Smith, West Pinchbeck, Lincolnshire, CA Trustee, Revd Steve Smith, Leeds, Andrew Smyth, Glasgow, Elaine Sommers, Bristol, CA Trustee, Erica Jane Soulsby, Lay Minister All Hallows by the Tower, London, Revd Graham Southgate, Wiltshire, Sue Suddaby, Sussex, Revd Dr Andrew Teal, Chaplain, Fellow, Dean of Degrees, Pembroke College, University of Oxford, Fr Geoffrey Thompson, Southwark, Revd Trevor Thurston-Smith, Leicester, Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, Durham, Paul Tilson, Belfast, Jeremy Timm, Howden, Yorkshire, Chair of CA Trustees, Angela Townshend, Bath, Clarissa Turner, Swallow, Lincs, Captain Katie Watson, Newcastle upon Tyne, Ann Wheeler, Geoff White, Reading, Sue Whitlock, Hurworth, Mandy Will-share, Revd Rowan Williams, York, Paula Wilson, Liverpool, Stella Wiseman, Bristol, Joyce Yendole