A married gay vicar has left the Church of England, claiming he was ‘blacklisted’ for having a same-sex spouse.
Father Andrew Foreshew-Cain became the first married gay vicar in the Church of England in 2015 and said this caused some friction.
‘I’m resigning my parishes and won’t be a licensed minister anymore,’ he told the Independent.
‘And because I’m married to Stephen, it was made clear to me that I wouldn’t get a licence for a new church,’ he said.
Current church teachings prohibit clergy from marrying same-sex partners, but civil partnerships are allowed.
This is under the condition of a strict adherence to celibacy.
Father Foreshew-Cain has been a priest for 27 years, and is currently at St Mary and All Souls in West Hampstead.
He believes his prominency in the church led to him keeping his parish after his marriage two years ago, but he will never get another licence in a different church.
— Andrew Foreshew-Cain (@churchnw6) 30 September 2016
He plans to move to Manchester with his partner, but believes there’s no point in applying for a new licence due to him being blacklisted: ‘In the normal run of things, I’d be looking for a parish up north but I can’t have one because of the institutional homophobia of the Church of England,’ he said.
The Church of England vs. LGBTI people
Father Foreshew-Cain believes the church has policies which are harmful to LGBTI people.
‘There is a kind of pressure in being paid by an organisation which just treats you so badly,’ he said. ‘You just have to keep on taking it because that’s how you make a living.
‘I don’t know any of my gay and lesbian friends who intend to stay in the Church until the end of their working lives,’ he said.
— Andrew Foreshew-Cain (@churchnw6) 15 February 2017
Father Foreshew-Cain doesn’t expect same-sex marriage for clergy to be a reality any time soon, but is hopeful.
He would love to see more tolerance within the church, as well as greater visibility for LGBTI issues.
‘It has to truly be the Church of England and not just the church for the minority of people within it,’ he said. ‘That means welcoming LGBTI people – or it will eventually become an irrelevance.’