Archbishop Of York Urged To "Come Out"
Call for David Hope to "clarify" his sexuality.
The Archbishop of York is being urged to "come out" and "clarify" his sexuality. The call comes from gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell today, Tuesday, 24 June 2003.
"It is hypocritical for homophobes within the Anglican Communion to tolerate Archbishop David Hope but not Canon Jeffrey John", said Mr Tatchell.
"There seems to be one moral standard for the second most senior figure in the Church of England and another for lower level clergy like Canon John.
"I call on the Archbishop to follow Canon John's example of openness and honesty.
"My understanding is that Archbishop David Hope is gay.
"The time has come to end church hypocrisy and double-standards.
"The Archbishop should show courage and integrity. I urge him to come out and clarify his sexuality. By his true witness, the contribution of gay people at the most senior levels of the church will be better understood and prejudice challenged.
"David Hope's sexuality is now an issue because he has been tolerated and indulged, while Jeffrey John is being hounded and victimised.
"The Archbishop of York admitted in 1995 that his sexuality was a 'grey area'. Grey being a mixture of black and white, this wording was a tacit admission that his sexuality was at least in part homosexual.
"At the time, he never denied being gay, and merely stated that he had 'sought' to lead a 'single, celibate life'. Seeking to lead such a life, and actually living it, are not always the same thing. It is notable that the Archbishop did not say: 'I have never had sexual relations with a man'".
"Based on information from someone who has known the Archbishop for many years, I believe he is gay.
"The Anglican Church has always had gay Bishops. The only difference now is that Canon Jeffrey John has had the integrity to be honest and truthful.
"In 1994, the gay rights group OutRage! named 10 Anglican Bishops and called on them to "tell the truth" about their sexuality. None denied being gay. There were no calls for their resignation. Why is Canon John being treated differently?
"These Bishops were named not because of their homosexuality but because of their hypocrisy and homophobia - they publicly condemned homosexuality and endorsed discrimination against lesbian and gay people, despite being gay themselves.
"The charge of homophobia also applies to the Archbishop of York. He opposed an equal age of consent, supported the Children's Society ban on gay foster parents, endorsed the sacking of gay clergy, and has given a free hand to ex-gay religious cults that attempt to cure homosexual people.
"It is not too late for him to redeem his past support for discrimination by coming out and supporting lesbian and gay human rights", said Mr Tatchell.
The 10 Bishops named in 1994 were:
Timothy Bavin (Bishop of Portsmouth)
Michael Fisher (Assistant Bishop, Ely)
John Klyberg (Bishop of Fulham)
Michael Marshall (Assistant Bishop, London)
Brian Masters (Bishop of Edmonton)
John Neill (Assistant Bishop, Bath & Wells)
John Nicholls (Bishop of Lancaster)
Mervyn Stockwood (Assistant Bishop, Bath & Wells)
Michael Turnbull (Bishop of Durham)
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