The Church of England Stands Firm on Same Sex Marriage

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( — December 14, 2015) — Same sex marriages still attract attention. It is always interesting to hear who marries who, where the couple lives, if they had any obstacles on the way and of what nature, if the priests are willing to perform the ceremony and so on. But what happens when priests want to marry their partners who happen to be of the same sex?

Canon Jeremy Davies was prohibited from officiating by the Diocese of Winchester ‘due to Church of England’s position on same sex marriage’.

A Church of England clergyman Jeremy Davies married his partner Simon McEnery, an opera singer, last year and for that reason he was banned from taking services. A spokesperson for the Diocese of Winchester said, “Canon Jeremy Davies made an application earlier this year for permission to officiate in the Dionese of Winchester. Due to Church of England’s position on same sex marriage, as set out in the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance, Canon Jeremy Davies has been informed that his application has been unsuccessful”.

Gay couples are allowed to require special prayers after their weddings, but Pastoral Guidance forbids gay and lesbian priests to get married.

Mr. McEnery (canon’s husband) confirmed on his Facebook profile that: “Jeremy has been banned from taking services in Winchester Diocese by the Bishop of Winchester because he’s married to me!”

Despite the fact that the Church of England was accused of ‘institutional homophobia’, it is still opposed to legislation for same sex marriage, starting from last year.

In November, a gay cleric who filed a lawsuit against the Church for being banned for the same reasons as Jeremy Davies, lost the case. Reverend Canon Jeremy Pemberton, who used to be a chaplain in a hospital in Lincolnshire, married his partner Laurence Cummington. The Church took away his licence to preach in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, which made Pemberton accuse the Church of discrimination based on sexuality. The Church won.

Peter Tachell, the veteran LGBT rights campaigner, said, “This decision sets three dangerous precedents, that the Church of England is exempt from the laws prohibiting workplace discrimination; that it is entitled to discriminate against gay clergy who have been lawfully married in a civil ceremony; and that it can lawfully dictate to non- religious institutions, such as the NHS (National Health Service), who they can employ”.

Canon Davies has officiated some services since he got married according to the Salisbury Journal and since he retired, the demand for him across the UK and the US has greatly increased. More than 25 years before he retired, Mr. Davies used to work at the Salisbury Cathedral.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York said, “As members of the Body of Christ we are aware that there will be a range of responses across the Church of England to the introduction of same sex marriage….However, we are in agreement that the Christian understanding and doctrine of marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman remains unchanged”. The Church won again.