A gay Church of England priest has accused the church of homophobia, after his civil partnership led to him being banned from preaching.
BBC News reports Reverend David Page of St Thomas the Martyr Church in Winchelsea, England, was told to stop preaching for not disclosing his lifestyle.
The Diocese of Page’s county, Chichester, said strict rules governed the lifestyles of ordained clerics. Page has said the church was being homophobic.
‘The Winchelsea community are up in arms about this, seeing it as, in essence, a homophobic act,’ Page told BBC News.
He said in 2008, Wallace Benn, the Bishop of Lewes, had refused him permission to preach at St Thomas the Martyr church because he refused to answer questions relating to his civil partnership.
Reverend Howard Cocks, Rector of Winchelsea, told the BBC: ‘Permission… was refused on the grounds that he is in a civil partnership and was not prepared to discuss the nature of their relationship, finding the questioning intrusive.’
As Reverend Cocks is to retire this year, the Wichelsea parish has applied for permission to let Reverend Page preach again.
The Church of England ordains gay priests only if they vow to remain celibate and single throughout their career - unlike their heterosexual colleagues.