“Individual priests and their congregations should defy the Church of England’s ban on same-sex civil partnerships in church premises. The ban is homophobic and autocratic. The church hierarchy is behaving like the politbureau of the old Soviet-era Communist Party; imposing its central diktat on local parishes and demanding unquestioning obedience. The ban doesn’t deserve respect or compliance. It should be ignored,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, coordinator of the Equal Love campaign and Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
Speaking on the opening day of the General Synod, he also deplored the endless delays in ordaining women bishops which, he said, “reveals an ugly sexism at the heart of the Anglican Communion.”
“The idea that women lack the moral and spiritual capacity to be bishops is an insult to all of female humanity. Many women priests have given exemplary ministry. There is no reason why they cannot offer religious leadership as bishops,” added Mr Tatchell.
“Many grassroots Anglicans support hosting same-sex civil partnerships in religious premises. The Church of England top brass is bigoted and out of touch. They are acting in a way that makes the church look mean, nasty and homophobic.
“While no one is suggesting that churches should be forced to conduct same-sex civil partnerships against their wishes, local parishes that want to host them should be free to do so. If the Anglican hierarchy says they can’t, individual churches should go ahead anyway,” said Mr Tatchell.