Church of England will only recognize same-sex marriage if one person is transgender.
At the General Synod in York yesterday (5 July), the church answered a question on trans people in the church.
The Church teaches a marriage ceremony should only take place between a man and a woman. It also expressly campaigned for the Church of England to be exempt to same-sex marriages by law.
And now, the General Synod has said it would not encourage the trans person and cis person to get divorced. However, many believe this is the Church of England refusing to recognize same-sex marriage at all, and also refusing to recognize the trans person’s true gender.
But a rebellion to achieve marriage equality, and to recognize trans people, has started.
Church of England will only recognize same-sex marriage only if one of the couple is trans
Andrew Foreshew-Cain, who quit as a priest in 2017 after marrying his husband, has said the church remains homophobic and transphobic.
He said that is ‘certainly looks like’ the CoE are refusing to consider a trans person as their true gender.
‘This isn’t them being accommodating and being nice. This is them enacting homophobic and transphobic policies,’ he told Gay Star News.
‘The Church of England says it’s inclusive but it’s only inclusive to a certain point. It has a whole bunch of rules.
‘For example, if you’re gay and you’re a priest, you have to be celibate. The bishops know most of the gay priests are not. There is a lack of integrity at the heart of the church.’
Foreshew-Cain said he has known priests who have been questioned by bishops on whether they are having sex with their partner.
‘This one priest said: “Not at the moment, bishop, I’m having coffee with you.”.
‘Both of them know what the situation is. The bishop can say the priest is celibate and the priest can be proud of his wit, but both know what’s going on.
‘If you don’t have integrity, it undermines your moral authority. This is just another example of it.’
Moving towards marriage equality
Many Anglican churches across the UK are steadily becoming more LGBTI-friendly. Some, in London, have even put up rainbow flags for Pride weekend.
Foreshew-Cain also said: ‘I think the majority of the people in the pews of the Church of England wants to see them be more accepting, and treat LGBTI people as the same as everyone else.
‘What they’re doing is they’re not standing with the official position. It’s a grassroots rebellion.
‘If a gay couple comes to you and says you can’t marry them, you can’t even bless them.
‘We can bless warships but we can’t bless a loving couple. You have to give what is known as informal prayers.
‘Many couples, however, are also given exact parallels to wedding vows. There’s a grassroots revolt and it will have an impact on bishops.’
Foreshew-Cain started the Campaign for Equal Marriage in Church of England.
And it’s showing sign of success.
The Methodist Conference passed a motion this week saying they want same-sex marriage plans to be taken further.
The Conference voted 247 to 48 in favor of allowing, in theory, same-sex weddings to take place on their premises and to be conducted by Methodist ministers.
‘We will have marriage equality in the Church of England,’ Foreshew-Cain said. ‘It will just take a very long time.’