Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Clergyman Jeremy Davies banned after gay marriage

Simon McEnery and Jeremy Davies
Image caption Jeremy Davies (right) said the church was hiding behind canon law

A senior clergyman has been banned from taking services in Winchester diocese because he married his gay partner.

The Reverend Canon Jeremy Davies served as canon precentor at Salisbury Cathedral for 25 years and has taken services at Winchester Cathedral.

After marrying his partner of 30 years in 2014, he has now been told he can no longer preach within the diocese.

The Church of England said the the union was against its pastoral guidance on same-sex marriage.

Canon Davies, who is officially retired, has been in a relationship with opera singer Simon McEnery for nearly 30 years and the couple married a year ago.

After being asked to conduct an increasing number of services in Winchester, he applied to officiate in the diocese.

The Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Timothy Dakin, told Canon Davies he was unable to grant him permission.

'Institutional homophobia'

Canon Davies said: "They've hidden behind the barricade of canon law, which says we don't like this because [marriage] is about a man and a woman so you can't be married.

"If the church doesn't think I'm married, why can I not have permission to officiate."

Mr McEnery said: "The church needs to examine itself for institutional homophobia. I think they need to see how much harm and damage they are doing to gay people."

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Winchester said: "Canon Jeremy Davies made an application earlier this year for permission to officiate in the Diocese of Winchester.

"Due to the Church of England's position on same sex marriage, as set out in the House of Bishops' pastoral guidance, Canon Jeremy Davies has been informed that his application has been unsuccessful."

The Church of England's pastoral guidance on same-sex marriage states: "The House is not... willing for those who are in a same-sex marriage to be ordained to any of the three orders of ministry.

"In addition it considers that it would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same-sex marriage, given the need for clergy to model the church's teaching in their lives."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites