About the Campaign

The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England was formally launched in April 2019 to campaign for changes in the Church to remove the current discrimination against married same-sex couples in the Church and to enable same-sex couples to be married in their parish church – in other words, for all married or engaged couples to be treated the same, no matter what their gender, sex or sexual orientation.

The campaign, known as ‘Equal‘ for short, is just that – a campaign. It is not a membership organization, or a charity, or a company limited by guarantee. You can’t join it or vote at an AGM. We are a single-issue campaign.

What anyone can do is support us, and we hope you will! (Especially by signing up as a Supporter.) You can pray for us and for change in the Church, subscribe to receive website updates, donate to the Campaign, tell others about the Campaign, wear an ‘Equal’ badge, give badges to your friends‘Equal badge’, and offer to help us in our work.

For information about our logo (in its various forms) see here.

Aims of the Campaign

  • For same-sex couples to be able to be married in Church of England parishes.
  • For people in such marriages to have the same opportunities for lay and ordained ministry in the Church of England as anyone else.
  • We believe that the consciences of everyone should be protected – no member of the clergy should be forced to conduct a marriage they disagree with. No member of the clergy should be prevented from celebrating a marriage of a same-sex couple.

Structure

Equal’s organizational structure is as simple as possible:

We have our own bank account, for expenses and to receive donations; all money will be spent to achieve the campaign’s aims (see above).

There is a small Organising Group, consisting of lay and ordained members of the Church of England, both women and men, single and married. The team currently contains people who are straight, gay, lesbian, and bisexual. At the time of writing they include those listed in the table below.

The Campaign’s Organising Group

Nick Bundock photoThe Revd Dr Nick Bundock
I’m the rector of St James and Emmanuel Church in the suburbs of Man­chester. Some of you will know the church as the home of the BBC Daily Service until quite recently. In 2014 our broadly evangel­ical church was devast­ated by the suicide of one of our most com­mitted teenagers, Lizzie Lowe. One of the contri­bu­ting factors behind Lizzie’s tragic decision was a per­ceived con­flict between her sexual­ity and her faith.
Lizzie’s death started a journey of repent­ance for our church leading to a posi­tion of radical inclu­sion. This journey has un­leashed so much life and joy in our com­munity, and there­fore suppor­ting the godly desire of two same-sex individ­uals to marry in Church of Eng­land parishes is a natural pro­gress­ion in our journey toward a more inclu­sive church.
Florence Butterfield photoFlorence Butterfield
I’ve been in a committed relation­ship with my partner Celia since 2014, the year same-sex marriage became legal in this country for all but the Church of Eng­land. Marriage has long been some­thing we have hoped to be able to cele­brate together – and I have been openly told by numerous members of Church of England clergy how much they would love to perform the cere­mony for us, if only it were legal to do so.
Given that we’re both people of faith, it would feel bizarre to have a marriage cere­mony that avoided the slight­est mention of God – which is what a civil cere­mony would necessi­tate. How sad it would be to miss out on the rich­ness of the music from the Anglican choral trad­ition we both love, and to lose the inspiring vows that we’ve heard so many straight couples promise to one another in front of their friends.

How long must we wait? In the mean­time, how many more will turn away from the church out of im­patience, pain or simply disgust?
Kerry Clifford-Taylor photoKerry Clifford-Taylor
I live in Milton Keynes with my husband and our three child­ren. By day I support vul­nerable young people to reach their full poten­tial and all other times I’m a fund­raising, volunteer­ing, baking, ice hockey, football, ballet mum! Amongst the chaos of my life, eight years ago I became a Christian and the love of Jesus became the lens that I now view every­thing through.

For years, rather naive­ly, I wasn’t aware of the rejection that my LGBTQIA+ friends had ex­perienced from the Church. I am absolute­ly certain that this ex­clusion and in­equity is not of the God I have come to know and love.
The Church married my hus­band and me 17 years ago without question, with very little interest in our beliefs but satis­fied that as a hetero­sexual couple we ful­filled the require­ments of a Christian marriage. Any sugges­tion that our relation­ship is any more faith­ful or loving or any more a gift from God than those of our same-sex couple friends is out­rageous.

I believe that with­holding the bless­ing of being married in church, in the eyes of a God who loves us all un­condition­ally, is cruel and I am totally committed to the Equal Campaign.
Andrew Foreshew-Cain photoThe Revd Andrew Foreshew-Cain
I’ve been a Christian since I was 17, and in ordain­ed ministry for nearly 30 years. I am married to my ever-tolerant hus­band, Stephen, and we live in the Peak District most of the time.
I am part of this Campaign because I believe in the Church of Eng­land, that it has a role and a place in Eng­land and should be doing better in the way it treats many of its members. My hope is that the C of E might one day be what it promises – a place of wel­come and accept­ance for all people. Just at the moment that isn’t the case, but it could be and should be, and with prayer and hard work I believe it will be.
Phil Gardner photoPhil Gardner
I have been a Christian since my teens and an Anglican almost as long; I have served my current parish church as a church­warden and as a creator of liturgy. I am bi­sexual and was in a com­mitted relationship with my male partner Andrew for 20 years (before marriage was possible for us); I am now in an equally com­mitted relation­ship with my wife Rose.
Having begun my life of faith as a funda­men­talist struggling with my sexual­ity, I have moved over the decades to a deeper under­stand­ing of myself, Scripture, and God’s love and justice. Since the mid-1970s I have wit­nessed and cam­paigned for the full accept­ance of LGBTQIA+ people in the Church. Rose and I believe that Christian marriage in church should be open to all couples without distinc­tion.
Steve O'Connor photoThe Revd Stephen O’Connor
I am a curate in the Church of Eng­land and live in the lovely sea­side town of Deal near Dover with my civil partner of 21 years Pascal and our cat Toby. I was brought up Roman Catholic but ex­perienced a re-awakening of my faith in my early twenties during Billy Graham’s ‘Mission Eng­land’ campaign in 1984. Whilst training as a nurse in London, I under­went con­version therapy with the then ‘Living Waters’ pro­gramme, and met many like me who had been various­ly affect­ed by diff­erent churches’ res­ponses to LGBTQIA+ issues; these ranged from abusive attempts to ‘exorcise’ the demon of homo­sexual­ity to the loving care of people in a marvellous south London Baptist church who simply loved me for who I was even as I started dating and proud­ly sang with the London Gay Men’s Chorus before meet­ing Pascal, my best friend and soul­mate, whom I thank God for every day. He has sacri­ficed more than I perhaps in living within the Church of Eng­land’s current guide­lines on same-sex relation­ships so that I might follow my dream of ministry within the Church, so it is for him and sub­sequent gener­ations of LGBTQIA+ Christ­ians that I have joined this Campaign.
I do not want them to have to endure the same nega­tive ex­periences or limit­ations that I have had to, and want their love and their loves to be recog­nised as any other person’s might be: socially, moral­ly, spiritual­ly, and – especial­ly for me as a priest – liturgical­ly. As a rite of passage and an essen­tial social, psych­ological and anthro­pological in­stitution, marriage is older than Christian­ity, and speaks to a far greater wisdom in which God said ‘it is not good for humans to be alone’ (Genesis 2:18). For­tunate­ly, as a result of our im­proved under­stand­ing of sex, gender and identity, many in society have seen the necessity of equal marriage as the means by which LGBTQIA+ people can em­brace and cele­brate their life­long, com­mitted and loving relation­ships if they wish to do so. I hope and pray that the Church of Eng­land will soon recog­nise the wisdom and necessity of this decision as both a mission­al and pastor­al im­perative, and a recog­nition of the equal dignity and im­port­ance that God places on every such relation­ship.
Nigel Pietroni photoThe Revd Nigel Pietroni
Having worshipped in the Church of Eng­land since the age of four, I trained for ordain­ed ministry at Ridley Hall in Cam­bridge and was priest­ed in 2002. Since then I have served the Church in a variety of settings including post-industrial and deeply rural parishes in Norfolk. For 25 years I was in a hetero­sexual marriage and had three child­ren. I came out as gay in 2017 and left parish ministry, with the in­evitable pain that this caused to us all. I am now married to my wonder­fully support­ive hus­band, Chris­topher; we live in Birming­ham and I have two step­sons.
As a married gay priest I have ex­perienced at first hand the pain that the Church’s position on issues of sexual­ity and equal marriage has in­flicted on LGBTQIA+ lay members and clergy alike. Despite all I have gone through, I remain com­mitted to the Church of Eng­land. I have joined the Campaign in the hope that one day the Church will be a place where all are truly welcome and where all can marry ir­respect­ive of their sexual­ity.
Nic Tall photoNic Tall
I live in Somerset, studied theo­logy at West­minster College, Oxford, and have been in licensed lay ministry since 2007. I have previously worked in diocesan admin­istra­tion and currently combine running a business with family and ministry commit­ments. I am married to Janet and have two children.
When I married in 1995 it was impor­tant for my wife and me to commit to each other in church and before God. As a straight couple this was a free choice for us to make and there was never a question that the church might turn us away. I am supporting the Equal Marriage campaign because I believe LGBTQIA+ couples should have the same oppor­tunity that the church gave to us.
Daniel Trott photoThe Revd Dr Daniel Trott
I'm the Team Vicar of All Saints’, Putney Common, in the Diocese of South­wark. I was brought up going to a Baptist church in Brighton, but at uni­vers­ity I dis­cover­ed an inclusive form of Anglican­ism, and that's where I've stayed. Both in the Baptist Church and in the Church of Eng­land I have encountered teaching on sex and sex­uality that has the capacity to cause great harm, and I feel strongly that things need to change.
I grew up believ­ing that God loves me for who I am (a gay man), and I believe that the Church of England should afford same-sex relation­ships the same dignity as opposite-sex relation­ships. I have joined this Campaign at this time because I hope that the public­ation of Living in Love and Faith represents the poss­ibility of real change in this area, and I want to con­tribute to that change.
Brenda Wallace photoThe Revd Brenda Wallace
I was born and brought up in Essex, from where I went to Lincoln Theo­­logi­cal College to train as a deacon­­ess. I was licensed in 1980 and was sub­­sequent­­ly one of the first women in the Church to be ordain­ed deacon and then, in 1994, as priest. I have recent­ly retired from full-time parish min­istry but con­tinue to be active in the group of parishes where I live. I also serve as a spirit­­ual director and am one of the small team lead­ing the Diocesan Spirit­­ual Com­­panion­­ship train­­ing course. I am also in the final stages of sub­­mitt­ing my thesis for a PhD, and am a member of General Synod.
My ex­­peri­ence of the debates around the ordin­­ation of women have made me passion­­ate about every aspect of equality in the Church. In recent years I have become in­­creas­ing­­ly frustr­ated at the way the Church ex­cludes people in a com­­mitted same-sex relation­­ship from discern­­ing their voca­tion to licensed ministry, and also refuses to allow clergy to joy­­fully cele­brate same-sex marriages in church. I am part of this Cam­paign to support work to end this institution­­al­ised dis­­crimin­­ation in the Church of England.

To contact the organizers please use the Contact form.