The Bishop of Winchester (Rt Revd Tim Dakin) has banned Jeremy Davies from taking services within the Winchester Diocese because he is married to a man, a former University of Southampton student, Simon McEnery.
Over the past couple of years, Jeremy Davies has been taking services at the Winchester Cathedral. In May, Mr Davies asked the Bishop of Winchester for a ‘Permission to Officiate‘ as his work at Winchester Cathedral was becoming more regular. It was only yesterday that Jeremy received a letter from the Bishop of Winchester refusing it.
Jeremy is devastated that the organisation, in which he has devoted his life to, is still behind the times and is riddled with institutional homophobia.
The couple have been in a civil partnership for 10 years, which was converted to a marriage last year after the same sex marriage act was passed in 2013. The service was not undertaken in a church, contrary to the couple’s wishes, as the Church of England does not allow same sex marriage.
In response to the same sex marriage act, the Church of England released a statement in which it acknowledged that they could not support same sex marriage. They argued that, by accepting this law, it would “alter the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman”.
Although this is the church’s official standpoint, it has left decisions to individual bishops as to whether to allow same sex married couples to work within their diocese.
Jeremy Davies worked as the Canon Precentor of Salisbury Cathedral for 26 years and here the bishop was supportive, even though he felt obliged to reprimand Mr Davies when he converted his civil partnership to a marriage.
Jeremy continues to stay positive that the Church if England will change their viewpoint in his lifetime, and is fortunate that the world has changed enough to allow him to be recognised as a married couple legally.
In a recent Facebook post, Jeremy’s partner, Simon McEnery, has urged friends to ‘let Rt Revd Tim Dakin to know what you think of the C of E’s institutional homophobia’ by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org