UK

Stop Church sacking gay vicars who marry, says senior Tory

Laurence Cunnington and Jeremy Pemberton Image copyright Quentin Rayner
Image caption Laurence Cunnington and Jeremy Pemberton married in a civil ceremony

The government should consider intervening to stop the Church of England sacking gay vicars who marry, a former Conservative chairman has said.

Lord Fowler raised the case in the House of Lords of Jeremy Pemberton, who had his licence to preach revoked after marrying his partner.

He called on the government to "see if there is anything that could be done to help reconcile the difficulties".

Gay marriage is legal in the UK but the Church of England has not accepted it.

Mr Pemberton was told he could not work as a priest in Nottinghamshire after he married his partner in April.

Things evolve

He was told by diocese officials that clergy must "model the Church's teaching".

He was also blocked from taking up a promotion within the NHS, where he works as a chaplain.

Lord Fowler said: "Given that there are other clergymen at similar risk, will the minister as a matter of good will look at the position here and see if there is anything that could be done to help reconcile the difficulties?"

The government's women and equalities spokesperson, Lady Northover, said it was a matter for the Church of England.

But she added: "Things can evolve. It is good to see, for example, that we should soon see women bishops."

The Bishop of Sheffield, the Right Reverend Steven Croft, said the Church would be holding "a two-year process of structured conversations to explore the changing attitudes to human sexuality and their implications for the life of the Church and its disciplines".

In June, The Right Revd Richard Inwood, acting Bishop for Southwell and Nottingham, said same-sex marriage was clearly at variance with the teaching of the Church of England.

He added: "In view of this I have spoken to Jeremy Pemberton and subsequently written to him to tell him his permission to officiate in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham has been revoked."

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