British Lord says government should protect gay clergy who marry
A former British Health Secretary and member of Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet says the government should consider intervening to stop the Church of England sacking gay vicars who marry.
Lord Fowler raised the case in the House of Lords of Jeremy Pemberton, who in June had his licence to preach revoked after marrying his partner.
Pemberton was the first member of the clergy to enter into a same-sex marriage, when he wed Laurence Cunnington in April.
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, Baroness Northover, said the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 sought to ensure that marriage between clergy was a matter for the Church.
Fowler, who was behind Britain's 1980s anti-HIV campaign, recently attended the AIDS 2014 Conference in Melbourne where he called for the decriminalisation of sex work and a change in drugs policy to prevent the spread of HIV.
IMAGE: Lord Fowler.