With Prime Minister David Cameron determined to legalize same-sex marriage in the UK, Dean of St Albans, the Very Reverend Jeffrey John, says the church of England will eventually have to catch up, even if it takes 10 years.
“I believe that before long we’ll see some kind of official services within the Church to bless gay partnerships, but not same-sex marriages,” Dean John told the BBC, noting that Cameron wants to pass legislation by 2015. “I think that will come but it could take another 10 years. That’s how the church works, we’re always two steps behind everyone else.”
The Very Reverend went on to compare the marriage situation in England to apartheid in South Africa, stating that “differentiating between heterosexual marriages and civil partnerships means that gay couples are being seen as inferior.”
The openly gay Dean John was passed up twice for appointment as bishop, with his sexuality being cited as a “difficulty” to the Church of England. In 2006, the cleric entered into a civil partnership with his partner of nearly 40 years, a Church of England hospital chaplain.
“I’ve been in a relationship for 37 years and I can testify that the covenant between two people of the same sex is exactly as it is for a marriage between a husband and wife – there is no difference,” he said. “However, as long as there is a difference in law between marriages and civil partnerships, it’s certain that partnerships will be viewed as being secondary.”