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Homosexual Anglican cleric, denied post as bishop, may sue Church of England

January 16, 2012

A prominent Anglican cleric is weighing a lawsuit against the Church of England, claiming that he has been unfairly been denied appointment as a bishop because he is homosexual.

Dr. Jeffrey John, the Dean of St. Alban’s, was nominated in 2003 to be Bishop of Reading, and again in 2010 to be Bishop of Southwark. On each occasion his nomination encountered heavy opposition because of his avowed homosexuality, and another candidate was eventually selected.

Dr. John registered a civil partnership with another male Anglican priest in 2006. The couple insist that they live in celibacy, but are open about their homosexuality. Dr. John is reportedly contemplating a lawsuit under the provisions of the Equality Act which took last year, and prohibits discrimination based on sexual preference.

The potential for a lawsuit highlights the crucial distinction between American and British law regarding church-state relations. Last week the US Supreme Court unanimously decided that religious bodies should be free to choose their own criteria for selecting ministers, without inference from the courts. But since the Church of England is an established religion, and its key decisions must already be ratified by Parliament, it would be more difficult—if not impossible—to claim exemption from a discrimination claim.


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  • Posted by: Wolf of Gubbio - Jan. 17, 2012 5:42 AM ET USA

    This fella obviously missed the bits in the Bible about a bishop being the husband of one wife, and the other bit about the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders entering the Kingdom of God. The level of Biblical ignorance is quite astounding!