Oxford college appoints married gay vicar as chaplain

Church of England priest Andrew Foreshew-Cain

Lady Margaret Hall college at the University of Oxford has appointed a married gay Church of England vicar as its new chaplain.

The college announced that Andrew Foreshew-Cain, who flouted a Church of England ban on same-sex marriage to wed his partner, has been hired as the new chaplain.

Foreshew-Cain, who previously oversaw two churches in London, has alleged that he is “blacklisted” within the Church and has been prevented from taking up another role because of his marriage.

However, appointments at Oxford colleges operate outside the Church’s jurisdiction, meaning the appointment cannot be blocked by bishops.

Andrew Foreshew-Cain will be ‘marvellous’ chaplain, says Oxford college principal

Lady Margaret Hall principal Alan Rusbridger, the former editor of the Guardian, told the Oxford Student that he was “delighted” to appoint Foreshew-Cain, adding that he will be a “marvellous” chaplain.

Rusbridger also praised his “energy, commitment and empathy.”

Andrew Foreshew-Cain married his partner in 2015. He initially continued serving in his London parish, but was prevented from moving to another job when he left in 2017.

Church of England priest Andrew Foreshew-Cain

Church of England priest Andrew Foreshew-Cain

He alleged: “I am on a blacklist. I can’t carry on being a priest because the institutional homophobia of the church makes it impossible.

“[The church is] an institutional homophobic organisation that kindly denies its policies and practices are deliberately and harmfully discriminatory and wrong.”

Campaign for equal marriage within Church of England

On Friday, Foreshew-Cain helped launch a campaign calling for an end to the church’s ban on equal marriage.

Equal seeks an end to rules that ban same-sex weddings in Church parishes, and an end to rules that target gay vicars for getting married.

Foreshew-Cain said: “[We] rejoice with the many same-gender couples who have made lifelong, faithful commitments to each other in marriage in recent years.

“The Church of England has spent too many years saying it is sorry for the way that it treats LGBT+ people, whilst continuing its own injustice towards us in marriage and ministry. It is time for what is done to match what is said.”

Permitting same-sex marriage in Church of England parishes would require a change in the law, as the 2013 Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act explicitly barred the Church of England and the Church in Wales from conducting same-sex marriages as part of a ‘quadruple lock’ to appease religious opponents of same-sex marriage.