One of the two gay priests who got married in a controversial church ceremony, said to be the first gay church wedding in the UK, has resigned.
The Rev. David Lord and the Rev. Peter Cowell caused a media storm in the UK last week when it came to light that they had exchanged wedding rings and vows in a London church on 31 May.
While same-sex civil partnerships are legal in the UK, the Church of England does not allow or recognise same-sex marriage ceremonies or blessings within the Church.
Religious conservatives were outraged that the men’s ceremony, which was held at the historic St. Bartholomew the Great, was almost identical to a traditional wedding, using many of the same hymns, prayers and readings.
On Sunday, the Bishop of London, the Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres, confirmed that he would order an investigation into the matter.
Now, Lord, who is an Anglican from New Zealand, has announced that he will resign following the row. He said that he “felt it appropriate to lay down his clergy licence.” The announcement was made in a statement issued by the Anglican Church in his home country.
“I am surprised and disappointed by the fuss. It was a joyful, godly occasion. Why turn it into a controversy? It was not a rally or a demonstration,” the Rev Martin Dudley, who led the service and is unrepentant, was quoted as saying by The Guardian newspaper.
It’s been reported that Lord has returned to New Zealand and that he will be joined at some point by Cowell who is currently the chaplain at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.