London: Gay vicar vows to defy Church marriage ban and marry partner

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A north London vicar vows to marry his partner of 14 years despite the risk that he could be thrown out of the Church of England.

Father Andrew Cain criticised senior Anglican leaders for their “unacceptable” opposition to equal marriage in January by putting up “Keep calm and support equal marriage” in two of his churches.

The House of Bishops confirmed last month: “It will continue not to be legally possible for two persons of the same sex to marry according to the rites of the Church of England.”

As part of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, which comes into force on Saturday 29 March, the Church of England is legally safe-guarded from marrying same-sex couples.

Fr Cain, of St Mary’s with All Souls in Kilburn, said he found it “very sad” that bishops had blocked his “legal right to marry”.

“I’ve lived and worked in the Church for 35 years and never have I felt unwelcome,” he told the Kilburn Times.

“It’s very sad that only now is my sexuality suddenly becoming an issue for some people. The Church wants to promote faithful and stable relationships – the bedrock of our society. Well, I am in a faithful and stable relationship.

“God made me like this. He gave me Stephen and I’m pretty sure he would want me to be happy with him.”

Fr Cain revealed his engagement to fiancé Stephen Foreshew, an atheist, on Valentine’s Day.

The vicar said messages of support had flooded in from other members of the clergy and his congregation following his announcement.