Some secretly gay clergy members are set to reveal their gay partners, and advocate for gay marriage in an open letter.
The open letter asks the General Synod of the Church of England to allow clergy members to bless gay marriages, reports the Independent. About a dozen ministers are going to sign it; half of them will say in the letter that they are in a same-sex marriage.
Archbishop Welby and Archbishop Sentamu forbade clergy members from entering into same-sex marriages after England and Wales legalized same-sex marriage in 2014. They also said that those already in same-sex marriages were not allowed to be ordained.
The Church of England’s attitude towards same-sex marriage needs to stop, said Reverend Andrew Foreshew-Cain in an interview with the Guardian. Foreshew-Cain married his partner in 2014 and was not removed from his post.
“Yet the Church of England behaves as if they are somehow dirty and imposes penalties on clergy and refuses to acknowledge the marriages of those who wish to make lifelong faithful commitments. This has to stop and the element of fear and hypocrisy around our marriages has to end,” he said.
The letter urges bishops to use the General Synod’s meeting in February to push for letting gay couples receive recognition and a blessing for their same-sex marriages in a special service.
“We’re simply asking for action to back up the rhetoric of the Bishops about welcome and acceptance for LGBTI people,” Foreshew-Cain said.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, spoke out against the letter, saying that it seemed like an undermining of church teaching.
“They [the signatories] are trying to undermine the authority of the teaching of the church,” Williams told the Sunday Times.
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