Gay Church of Ireland minister attacks hypocrisy on inclusion

A Church of Ireland minister who has a same-sex partner has accused the Archbishop of Dublin and Glendalough of “cherry-picking” which issues of inclusion he supports.

Tom Gordon, the dean of Leighlin, who entered into a civil partnership two years ago, was responding to Archbishop Michael Jackson’s criticism of “sectarianism” and exclusionary behaviour within the Anglican church.

Gordon claimed that a committee on human sexuality, set up to implement a resolution proposed by Jackson, has no openly gay member.

“You’re either inclusive or you’re not,” Gordon said. “You can’t be cherry-picking what you’re inclusive about. It’s hard to reconcile [Jackson’s] scolding of his diocese for not being inclusive enough when he is the very person who, only last year, proposed a very conservative restatement on human sexuality which caused a great degree of concern in terms of making gay people feel excluded.”

Gordon informed the congregation of his 20-year relationship when he was appointed to the Co Carlow deanery. There have been calls for his resignation on the website of reform Ireland.

Last month Jackson said that he had learnt through “much bitter experience” that exclusionary attitudes and sectarianism were alive in the church. At last year’s Church of Ireland general synod, Jackson proposed a motion that the church “uphold its teaching that marriage is part of God’s creation and a holy mystery in which one man and one woman become one flesh.”

While recognising “no other understanding of marriage”, Jackson’s resolution stated: “Members of the church have at times hurt and wounded people by words and actions in relation to human sexuality.”

A church spokesman said: “The select committee has only just begun its business. There is provision in its terms of reference to co-opt two further members and there is a real desire to be able to hear the views of those who identify themselves as gay, lesbian or experiencing same-sex attraction.

“The committee is determined to listen to and engage with the views of gay and lesbian people.”

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