Clergy who defied Church of England’s gay marriage ban ‘running for Synod’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Two Church of England clergymen are running to sit on the Church’s main governing body – after they both separately defied rules by marrying their same-sex partners.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton is currently embroiled in a court case, after he faced punitive action from the Church for tying the knot with his husband last April.

Just two months later, popular London vicar Father Andrew Foreshew-Cain also defied the Church’s rules banning gay clergy from marrying, marrying his husband Steve.

In a bid to challenge the Church of England’s approach to LGBT issues, this month both the clergymen are running to sit on the General Synod – the Church’s governing body.

The General Synod is responsible for formulating the Church’s approach to issues, and consists of a House of Bishops and elected Houses of Clergy and Laity.

As the Synod holds it election, Rev Foreshew-Cain is standing in the London diocese clergy election, while Canon Pemberton is standing in Lincoln.

Pro-gay Christian group Inclusive Church noted the lack of progress of the existing body, adding: “Going on the performance of the current Synod it is clear that much needs to be done to widen the membership of the new synod to better represent the mainstream of the Church of England. ”

Rev Foreshew-Cain told ITV News: “I have every right to be on the Synod, and I have an important voice to offer in the debate about sexuality that will be happening in the next six years.

“I’m also doing this because for a lot of young people, who meet with the Church of England either in schools or through their parishes, the messages they’re continually getting from the Church is one of negativity and rejection if they’re gay and lesbian.”

Anti-gay pressure group Christian Concern has condemned the news, but Rev Foreshew-Cain insists he has a right to stand.

He said: “This is simply another expression of discrimination and prejudice – that says simply for being gay, I’m not a suitable person to be on the decision-making body of the Synod.

“I think that’s an expression of prejudice.”

A spokesman for the Church of England told PinkNews: “Elections for General Synod are currently taking place across the country and close in October.

“We welcome and encourage men and women from across the church to stand for election.”

The ballot closes on October 9.