Tory minister Penny Mordaunt urges Church of England to finally allow same-sex marriages

Penny Moraunt in a black blazer

Conservative minister Penny Mordaunt has called on the Church of England to reform its same-sex marriage policies and allow queer weddings to be conducted by members of the clergy. 

Next month, the Church of England is set to discuss the matter of same-sex marriages in churches at the General Synod. 

The General Synod considers and approves legislation affecting the whole of the Church of England, formulates new forms of worship, debates matters of national and international importance as well as approving the annual budget for the work of the church at national level.

Currently, members of the clergy in the Church of England are prevented from carrying out or blessing same-sex weddings. 

In response to this, Tory leader of the House of Commons Mordaunt – who represents Portsmouth North – has penned a letter to bishop of Portsmouth Jonathon Frost

In the letter the politician – who ran twice last year to be leader of the Conservatives and unelected prime minister – said LGBTQ+ people are treated as “second class citizens” by the religious organisation. 

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The MP called on the bishop of Portsmouth to back reforms which would change the Church’s anti-LGBTQ+ policies and would allow members to conduct same-sex marriages “or, at a minimum, enable authorised blessings”. 

She said: “I want all of my constituents and others to be able to have the right to have their relationships solemnised in their parish in England.” 

“It is some time now since parliament legislated for civil partnerships and then same-sex marriage. Since then, both the Episcopal Church in Scotland and the Church of Scotland have agreed to offer same-sex marriage and the Church in Wales plans to do so soon.

“As minister for the armed forces I enabled such ceremonies to take place in non-shared churches, and the first ceremony in an armed forces church took place in my constituency. Portsmouth has led the way.” 

The MP added that she feels that if the matter is not resolved next month then the matter will “continue to fester and detract from the positive contribution the Church of England makes to our society”. 

This letter comes as the bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, came out swinging for same-sex marriage by calling on the Church of England to change its stance.

In an open letter to his diocese, published on Monday (9 January), Dr Inge states “the time has come for the Church of England to celebrate and honour monogamous, faithful same-sex relationships”.

He wrote he has observed “good, faithful, monogamous relationships between people of the same sex which I cannot believe to be inherently sinful”.

He added: “I have been forced to ask myself the question, how is the church’s teaching good news for gay people, created in God’s image? I feel bound to say, rather late in the day, that it is not. 

“I apologise to all those whom my silence has wounded in the past. My reticence was motivated by a commitment to the unity of the church.”

Penny Mordaunt’s letter was praised by Jayne Ozanne on Twitter. 

Ozanne, a queer Christian campaigner against conversion therapy, founder of the Ozanne Foundation and a former government equalities advisor, called the letter a “must read” for all Church of England bishops.