Priest says ‘I’ll walk to York for gay marriage’

Father Ian Stubbs pledges pilgrimage to present pro-gay marriage petition homophobic Archbishop of York John Sentamu if it gets enough signatures

Priest says ‘I’ll walk to York for gay marriage’
13 June 2012

A Church of England vicar has promised to walk all the way to York to present his pro-gay marriage petition to the homophobic archbishop there, if it gets enough signatures.

Ian Stubbs is the Church of England parish priest at All Saints Parish Church in Glossop, a small town in the Peak District, a national park which runs down the backbone of Britain.

But from his small vicarage he hopes to create a revolution in church attitudes, taking on the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who has been outspoken against same-sex marriage.

He has launched a petition on Change.org which has already been backed by over 1,000 people in 24 hours. Hitting 2,000 signatures will prompt his unique pilgrimage.

It will take him at least 20 hours to cover the 60 miles, much of it over tough terrain.

Father Stubbs said: ‘Jesus teaches us to be loving and inclusive, nowhere does he say that same-sex relationships fall short of God’s purposes.

‘I am bitterly disappointed by the Church’s shameful and outdated response to the proposals for gay marriage, it shows a lack of moral courage and risks further undermining the credibility and relevance of the Church of England in modern life.

‘My congregation are accepting and compassionate people. My fear is that as the Church digs in its heels over progressive issues like this, it will become less relevant to ordinary people. I have spent 40 years working to engage people with the Christian faith, I will be furious if the refusal to let loving couples marry undermines that work.’

His words contrast sharply with those of Sentamu, who has been one of the most high-profile opponents of gay marriage equality in the UK.

Sentamu said: ‘I don’t think it is the role of the state to define what marriage is. It is set in tradition and history and you can’t just [change it] overnight, no matter how powerful you are.

‘We’ve seen dictators do it in different contexts and I don’t want to redefine very clear social structures that have been in existence for a long time and then overnight the state believes it could go in a particular way.’

Unlike in a dictatorship, the UK government is currently holding a public consultation on whether to allow gay civil marriage equality in England and Wales.

It’s a response to overwhelming public opinion in favor of the move, including 58% of British people of faith who support the government’s actions.

But the change would not affect religious marriage ceremonies – they are excluded from the proposls and there are no plans to force churches to wed lesbian and gay couples.

Insiders report, however, that the majority of responses to the consultation so far have been from religious opponents of equality, encouraged by a well-funded campaign.

Completing the consultation can be done in less than five minutes and only a little over a day remains to do so – it closes at 11.59pm UK time tomorrow (14 June). You can do it here.

On 8 July, All Saints Parish Church will be screening Love Free or Die, an American documentary about a gay Anglican bishop Gene Robinson who married his partner Mark Andrew.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Vatican slams US nun’s book on homosexuals

Professor Margaret Farley's book 'Just Love' challenges Catholic views on homosexuality, masturbation and divorce
No thumbnail available

Report looks at legal rights of trans and intersex in Europe

European Commission publishes its first ever analysis of discrimination against transgender and intersex people
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

NFL player Michael Sam on how boyfriend Vito Cammisano propelled him to come out in college - then to the world

'Vito was really the person who showed me I had to do it. I wanted us to be comfortable'
No thumbnail available

The 15 most important LGBT equality quotes at the Democratic convention

Democratic convention is filled with words about LGBT eqaulity
No thumbnail available

Things are getting better for LGBTI people

Research from Germany suggests that religious groups are aggressively opposing gay rights
No thumbnail available

Locals to pick theme for 2012 Brighton Pride

Readers of The Argus newspaper given opportunity to shape iconic LGBT festival
No thumbnail available

Bronx LGBT center boss jailed for theft that closed her organization

The former director of the Bronx LGBT Community Pride Center has been jailed for embezzling over $300,000
No thumbnail available

Neil Patrick Harris narrates audiobook of And Tango Makes Three

The children's book about gay penguins celebrates ten years of publication with a special anniversary edition and audio release
No thumbnail available

Scientists attack media over gay animal hype

Study finds that media coverage of scientific reports on animal same-sex behavior paints gays and lesbians in negative light