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Gay clergy ‘depressed’ over Church of England marriage ban

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A lobbying group has warned the Church of England that a ban on gay clergy marrying is pushing them away from the church.

The House of Bishops pushed through a ban on gay clergy marrying in February this year, and prohibited formal blessings for same-sex weddings.

Hospital chaplain Jeremy Pemberton violated the ban earlier this year by marrying his same-sex partner, and had his permission to officiate revoked.

This meant he was also unable to take up another job at the NHS, as he was declined the correct licences.

In a letter sent to every bishop, Reverend Colin Coward of Changing Attitude England warned that if the ban stayed in place, it would risk alienating gay clergy.

He told Christian Today: “The teaching of the House of Bishops is now effectively that lesbian and gay clergy couples should live in an unmarried state rather than committing themselves publicly to one another in fidelity and love.

“Men and women in ministry no longer want to work in an environment which is deceitful and dishonest.”

“There is a noticeable increase in despair and depression among LGBTI clergy.

“Partnered clergy are unwilling to marry and those in civil partnership are reluctant to convert their CP to marriage fearing hostile action from their bishop.

“LGBTI clergy conclude that they will never be able to move to a new post if they marry and that there is effectively no future for them in the Church of England. Potential ordinands are dissuaded from pursuing a vocation.

“People are angry at what they perceive to be the hypocrisy in the incoherent practice of the House of Bishops and the failure to honour lesbian and gay clergy who marry, are in a civil partnership, known to be living with a partner or in a relationship.

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