A leading local clergyman has spoken of his ‘surprise and disappointment’ at the failure of the Church of England’s ruling body not to allow gay marriage in church.
The Rev Nick Flint, rector of Rusper, spoke out after the Church of England’s General Synod voted not to ‘take note’ of a controversial report on homosexuality and same sex marriage.
The report by the House of Bishops maintained that marriage in church should be only between a man and a woman and services should not be held to bless same-sex relationships.
Fifty-six-year-old Mr Flint, who is married with children, said: “To me it is inevitable that same sex marriages will be celebrated in church one day and that will be the norm - and I welcome that.
“When we look back, I think we’ll ask why were we dithering. The Church is always evolving. At one point divorcees couldn’t get re-married in church.”
He said he was ‘frustrated at the moment with the bishops who have closed ranks.’
The general consensus of bishops is a bit suspicious,” he said. “They are fearful and risk averse.
“We all know that, purely statistically, there must be gay bishops and it is such a pity they cannot be open about that.”
He described the struggle over same-sex marriage as being ‘as big as apartheid’ and added: “We’re all different and that is great.
“I am not trying to push my views on anyone but I think this change will happen and I feel the Church is using a lot of energy resisting it. I am disappointed in the bishops.”
He said he was puzzled by the fact that a democratically-elected government had ruled in law that gay marriage was legal. As a clergyman, he said, he had “sworn allegiance to Her Majesty and she apparently thinks this is OK. I am more than OK with it too.
“But the most I can do is what I am doing now and just putting out words of welcome.
“We are what we are and we are who we are.”