The Guardian

The rebel priest: ‘Gay people in the church are not going to go away’

The Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain says his same-sex marriage cost him his ministry. Now he is launching a campaign for the rights of LGBTQ Christians
‘Insisting on celibacy is, I think, abusive’ … the Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain. Photograph: Fabio De Paola/The Guardian

The Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain had served as a vicar for around two decades until his fractious exit in 2017. His crime? Marrying his partner, Stephen, in 2014.

While he kept his position at St Mary with All Souls, Kilburn, and St James’, West Hampstead, after his wedding, he says he was “blacklisted” from finding a new job. In 2017, he resigned, publicly condemning the church as “institutionally homophobic”. It was a bold statement, and one he knew would bar him from ever returning.

While heterosexual priests can marry and have sex, gay clergy members are expected to remain unmarried and celibate. “Insisting on celibacy,” he argues, “[implies that] God will only accept you if you don’t have sex; that is, if you don’t want what everybody wants, which is to be loved by somebody and to love them on their terms.” He pauses, weighing his words. “I think that’s abusive.”

He has

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