Gay couple protest at ‘homophobic’ church

A British couple have been demonstrating in front of an Anglican church – saying they have been “banned” because they are gay.

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Chris Wilkinson, 72, says he was pleased to learn that an Anglican church was being built in Redon, Brittany, seven kilometres from his home.

He and his partner, Rodney Logan, wanted to get involved in the life of the church.

However, the pastor told them in an email, seen by Connexion, that homosexuality was “not healthy nor natural”.

Mr Wilkinson has lived in France for 19 years and is retired but helps part-time for a refugee charity. He said: “I was horrified. We took deep offence at this. It is homophobic abuse.”

Since this first email, sent by pastor Robin Adams, the couple claim to have tried to meet with him, but in vain.

Mr Wilkinson said: “We’ve not met him in 10 months. We suggested a few dates but each time he had a reason not to be there.”

The couple have not attended the church since and instead go to the American Cathedral in Paris, near Mr Logan’s work as a language teacher. Mr Wilkin-son added: “The pastor has said we are welcome to worship but we feel it’s just words on paper.”

The couple have contacted other churches about the issue but say they have “met a wall of silence”.

The pastor at Redon told Connexion: “No persons have been banned from attending worship. There are ongoing safeguarding issues that I am unable to discuss.”

The couple are now considering lodging a complaint with the Church of England.

Homophobia in religious circles is nothing new.

So-called “conversion therapies” are widely reported as being still offered secretly by religious groups in France.

The association Refuge France, which helps gay people in distress, says it receives calls each month about these so-called “therapies”. They represent 3.5% of its calls, it says.

Homosexuality was taken off the list of diseases of the World Health Organisation in 1992.

Unlike Germany, which is set to ban gay conversion therapy by the end of this year, France has not yet announced such action.