Lesbian and gay Anglicans will marry in other churches

Today’s Sunday Telegraph publishes a letter signed by 152 Anglicans, 56 of them clergy. The letter states that in 2014 when lesbian and gay couples will be able to marry, the Church of England will face the practical and pastoral reality of married lay and ordained same-sex couples. Unless the Church persuades the Government to remove the quadruple lock now proposed for Anglicans in England and Wales, the only pastoral response available to clergy will be to counsel lesbian and gay members of our congregations to marry in those churches willing to celebrate faithful same-sex relationships.

The letter was drafted by Changing Attitude but has been signed by people affiliated to a wide range of organisations. Among the signatories is Rt Revd Professor Lord Harries of Pentregarth, former bishop of Oxford and patron of Changing Attitude.

The first letter in today’s Sunday Telegraph opposes same-sex marriage, claiming that marriage is not about love. The author says this is a fairly recent idea, misguided and dangerous. It is a contract entered into by a man and a woman for their long-term mutual support and companionship, and for the nurturing of children, if they have any.

Changing Attitude believes Christian marriages are rooted in the reality of God’s faithful, covenantal love for all creation and for every human being. God draws those of us open to the Holy Spirit into depths of love, risk, openness and self-giving which we model in our own loving, faithful relationships, same-sex and heterosexual. Marriage is about mutual support and companionship, or course, and for many it is about the nurturing of children. Fundamentally, it is about love, and the way in which we are transformed when we fall in love, with our spouse and with God.

The Editor,
The Sunday Telegraph

15 December 2012

Dear Sir,

Lesbian and gay members of the Church of England and others who support the full inclusion of LGB&T people are angered and dismayed by the fourth element of the quadruple lock proposed by the Government. This explicitly states that it would be illegal for the Church of England to marry same-sex couples, or to opt-in to do so.

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 couples in a heterosexual marriage? 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 her 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?

The Church of England is in crisis because of its failure to approve women bishops and the insistence that it maintains the right to discriminate against LGB&T people by exemptions from equality legislation. We urge Anglican clergy and lesbian and gay Christian couples to embrace the freedom given by the legislation to marry in other Christian Churches, celebrating their union with enthusiasm and love. The Church of England 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 solemnize 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. We will continue to press the Church of England to pass an Amending Canon and Measure to legalise same sex marriage.

Yours faithfully,

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, Glasgow

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