Twelve vicars defy Church and enter gay marriages

Mon 22 Aug 2016
By Hannah Tooley

A dozen Church of England clergy plan to reveal that they have defied the Church by marrying their same-sex partners.

The group are set to go public in an open letter where they will also urge the Church to bless same-sex weddings.

Half of the signatories had already declared themselves to be in a same-sex marriage but it's understood officials had no idea about the other half.

The letter will be sent to the House of Bishops in September when all of the signatories will be revealed.

In 2014 the Archbishops of Canterbury and York said clergy cannot enter into a same-sex marriage and that those in gay marriages will not be ordained.

The Church of England has responded to the letter, saying: "The Shared Conversations process over the last two years included the participation of over 1300 members of the church in regional and national settings.

"Through those conversations, deep convictions have been shared and profound differences better understood.

"It is our hope that what has been learned through the relationships developed will inform the way the church conducts whatever further formal discussions take place in the future."

Andrew Foreshew-Cain/Facebook


Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain was one of the first priests to defy the Church's rules and marry his gay partner.

He told The Sunday Times: "We are now going to keep pushing for the next and the next and the next [step] until we get full equality in the church.

"We are not going away."

The letter does not ask for a change in Church doctrine, instead it pushes for rights that priests would be allowed to decide whether they wished to give a blessing using a new, official service.

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern has expressed her disappointment. She said: "They [the signatories] are trying to undermine the authority of the teaching of the church."

In June 2015 gay vicar Canon Jeremy Pemberton tried and failed to sue the Church because he had been refused a licence to operate as a hospital chaplain following his gay marriage.

A judge found the Church was within its rights because he had gone against the wishes of the archbishops.

Listen to Jeremy Timm from Changing Attitude explaining the reasons for the letter:

Listen to Susie Leafe from Reform outlining her concerns over this development:

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