The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England was formally launched in April 2019 to campaign for changes in the Church to remove the current discrimination against married same-gender couples in the Church and to enable same-gender couples to be married in their parish church – in other words, for all married or engaged couples to be treated the same, no matter what their gender, sex or sexual orientation.
The campaign, known as ‘Equal‘ for short, is just that – a campaign. It is not a membership organization or a group, or a charity, or a company limited by guarantee. You can’t join it or vote at its AGM (there isn’t one). We are a single-issue campaign.
What anyone can do is support us, and we hope you will! You can pray for us and for change in the Church, subscribe to receive updates and newsletters, donate to the Campaign, sign our Open Letter to the House of Bishops, tell others about the Campaign, wear an ‘Equal’ badge, give badges to your friends, and offer to help us in our work.
Aims of the Campaign
- For same-gender couples to be able to be married in Church of England parishes.
- For people in such marriages to have the same opportunities for lay and ordained ministry in the Church of England as anyone else.
- We believe that the consciences of everyone should be protected – no member of the clergy should be forced to conduct a marriage they disagree with. No member of the clergy should be prevented from celebrating a marriage of a same-gender couple.
Equal’s organizational structure is as simple as possible:
We have our own bank account, for expenses and to receive donations; all money will be spent to achieve the campaign’s aims (see above).
There is a small ad-hoc team of core organizers, consisting of lay and ordained members of the Church of England, both women and men, single and married. The team currently contains people who are straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. At the time of writing they include:
Core Organizers of the Campaign
|Erika Baker (right)|
I have been campaigning for LGBTI+ equality in the church for over 16 years. I am moderator of the Facebook group 'Christians for LGBTI+ Equality', Inclusive Church Ambassador in Somerset and, together with Susan, organiser of the Rainbow Church series of events.
|Our identity is in Christ, our faith is at the heart of everything we do. Marriage is one of the greatest gifts from God and should be celebrated in a church, in the presence of God, with vows made before God. We will both do what we can to help make this a reality in the Church of England.|
|Susan Strong (left)
I married Erika in 2008, since when we have been campaigning for LGBTI+ equality in the Church, particularly through our local campaign group in Bath and Wells.
|The Revd Dr Nick Bundock
I’m the rector of St James and Emmanuel Church in the suburbs of Manchester. Some of you will know the church as the home of the BBC Daily Service until quite recently. In 2014 our broadly evangelical church was devastated by the suicide of one of our most committed teenagers, Lizzie Lowe. One of the contributing factors behind Lizzie’s tragic decision was a perceived conflict between her sexuality and her faith. Lizzie’s death started a journey of repentance for our church leading to a position of radical inclusion. This journey has unleashed so much life and joy in our community, and therefore supporting the godly desire of two same-gender individuals to marry in Church of England parishes is a natural progression in our journey toward a more inclusive church.
|The Revd Andrew Foreshew-Cain|
I’ve been a Christian since I was 17, and in ordained ministry for nearly 30 years. I am married to my ever-tolerant husband, Stephen, and we live in the Peak District most of the time.
|I am part of this Campaign because I believe in the Church of England, that it has a role and a place in England and should be doing better in the way it treats many of its members. My hope is that the C of E might one day be what it promises – a place of welcome and acceptance for all people. Just at the moment that isn’t the case, but it could be and should be, and with prayer and hard work I believe it will be.|
I have been a Christian since my teens and an Anglican almost as long; I have served my current parish church as a churchwarden and as a creator of liturgy. I am bisexual and was in a committed relationship with my male partner Andrew for 20 years (before marriage was possible for us); I am now in an equally committed relationship with my wife Rose.
|Having begun my life of faith as a fundamentalist struggling with my sexuality, I have moved over the decades to a deeper understanding of myself, Scripture, and God's love and justice. Since the mid-1970s I have witnessed and campaigned for the full acceptance of LGBT+ people in the Church. Rose and I believe that Christian marriage in church should be open to all couples without distinction.|
I live in Somerset, studied theology at Westminster College, Oxford, and have been in licensed lay ministry since 2007. I have previously worked in diocesan administration and currently combine running a business with family and ministry commitments. I am married to Janet and have two children.
|When I married in 1995 it was important for my wife and me to commit to each other in church and before God. As a straight couple this was a free choice for us to make and there was never a question that the church might turn us away. I am supporting the Equal Marriage campaign because I believe LGBTI couples should have the same opportunity that the church gave to us.|
To contact the organizers please use the Contact form.