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, 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.


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, which is alphabetically ordered by surname.

The Campaign’s Organising Group

Dan Barnes-Davies photoFr Dan Barnes-Davies scp is Vicar for Barry in the Church in Wales. Origin­ally from Essex, he trained at West­cott House and was ordain­ed in the Church of England.He moved to Wales with his wife in 2021 and they have since welcomed a daughter. Dan has been a trustee of Inclusive Church for ten years and became Chair of the IC board in 2022.
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.
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.