Tory MP suggests cash-strapped cathedral raises funds by becoming gay wedding venue

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A Tory MP has suggested that his local cathedral could raise funds by hosting gay weddings.

The Conservative MP for Lichfield, Michael Fabricant, made the suggestion in the Commons today.

Mr Fabricant said: “The Dean of Lichfield cathedral, Adrian Dorber, is always telling me how short of money the cathedral is.

“May I just say that I live for the day when gay clergymen can be openly gay and there will be gay marriages, which will be paid for in Lichfield cathedral and all the other cathedrals in England and the rest of the United Kingdom, in a liberal nation.”

Caroline Spelman, who represents the Church of England’s interests in the Commons as the Second Church Estates Commissioner, responded to the remarks.

She said: “I look forward to visiting the Lichfield diocese. Indeed, the Government have been very generous in their funding for repairs to that beautiful cathedral.

“On the specific subject of human sexuality, I do not think that the Archbishop of Canterbury could have been clearer about his leadership in bringing the whole Anglican Communion together for the first time, united behind the doctrine that we should condemn homophobic prejudice and violence at home and abroad.”

Ms Spelman also spoke about divisions within the global Anglican Communion on the issue of same-sex marriage.

She said: “The Anglican Communion extends over many different cultures and many continents, and not all cultures and societies move at the same pace.

“It is therefore all the more remarkable that the Archbishop of Canterbury managed to get a unanimous agreement among all the bishops of the Anglican Communion, in Canterbury, in January, that there should be a new doctrine condemning homophobic prejudice and violence, and resolving“to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation.”

She added: “The Anglican Communion is extremely diverse. What we must remember, living here in the liberal west, is that a typical Anglican communicant is in Africa and black, female and under 35; in many African nations there are also very strong views on this subject, and keeping the Communion together is a big challenge.

“It is open to Church of England clergy to enter into civil partnerships, and many do so. The Church of England in England is moving forward in its understanding with a shared conversation, three parts of which have already occurred.

“In July this year, the Synod will move forward with the shared conversation about sexuality—the nature of human sexuality.

“I reiterate the point that the whole Communion agreed unanimously that the Church should never, by its actions, give any impression other than that every human being is the same in God’s sight regardless of sexuality.”