Protest at Church of England’s General Synod calls for Anglicans to allow same-sex marriage

Graham Robson February 8, 2023

Supporters of same-sex marriage rallied outside the Church of England’s General Synod at Church House in London today, Wednesday, February 8, as Synod members arrived to debate and vote on the issue.

The protest, jointly organised by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and Adam Chinery-North, a lay minister & Anglican LGBT+ campaigner, was organised in response to what they call the “Anglican church’s homophobic discrimination against same-sex marriage”.

Mr Tatchell said: “The bishop’s apology to LGBTQ+ people is offensive and hypocritical, given that the church continues to discriminate against same-sex couples by banning them from church marriages. The offer of blessings is an insult. Blessings are what the church gives to pets like dogs and guinea pigs.

“The church’s stance is in defiance of the spirit of the Equality Act. It is against the wishes of most Anglicans, 55% of whom support marriage equality. We are not saying that churches must be forced to conduct same-sex marriages; only that those who wish to should no longer be barred by the Anglican leadership.”

According to the organisers, the protest was supported by a coalition of Anglicans, other Christians and non-religious LGBTQ+ human rights defenders – including both LGBTQs and straight allies – “all united in opposition to Anglican discrimination”.

“This is a human rights issue. Even though some of us are not Anglican, we are outraged by church discrimination against LGBTQ+ people,” added Mr Tatchell.

“We support same-sex couples who wish to marry in their parish churches. This is a right extended to every heterosexual man and woman in England, regardless of their religion – but not to LGBTQs. That’s discrimination and discrimination is not a Christian value,” he said.

Protest co-organiser, Anglican Lay Minister, Adam Chinery-North from Birmingham, added: “We are here today as Anglicans, Christians and humanists – a whole range of LGBTQ+ people of different beliefs – telling the bishops and Synod that enough is enough. We have listened to them talk about us, talk at us and marginalise us for long enough. We’ve been alienated, discriminated and abused for decades.

“The bishops’ apology has been too long coming and it is frankly not good enough. The prayers they are offering are not sufficient. We are saying no to discrimination. We are saying no to being talked about as a problem to be solved. Now is the time for same-sex marriage in the Church of England,” he concluded.

Photo courtesy of Peter Tatchell Foundation