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
|Fr 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.|
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.|
|The 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.|
|The 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.|
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.|
|The 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.