AN OPENLY gay priest has praised The Church of England’s clergy for throwing out a report that refuses to recognise same-sex marriages.

Father Paul Kennington, parish priest of St Andrew’s Church in Leytonstone, said the House of Clergy were “brave” to reject the report put together by the House of Bishops.

The church’s synod voted against the report that upholds marriage as a lifelong union between a man and a woman, at a general assembly on Wednesday, February 15.

Fr Kennington said: “As a gay man seeing your church talk about you as if you are an issue doesn’t feel good and I was delighted the report wasn’t taken note of.

“It was a brave move for the clergy to stand up to the bishops because these people are important in the church.

“LGBT people were invited in to tell their stories and explain what it is like for them but the report had no reference to their stories. It didn’t have real people in it.

“I am hopeful that the Church of England will one day accept same sex couples.”

The report published following three years of discussions called for “a fresh tone and culture of welcome and support for lesbian and gay people”.

Fr Kennington has been in a relationship with his partner Jonathan for 22 years and says he has always been open about his sexuality.

The priest took up his new role in Leytonstone after working as the Dean of the Anglican Cathedral of Montreal for six years.

Although Canadian church officials encouraged the couple to marry they refused as Fr Kennington knew it would create problems for him when he returned to work in the UK.

The Anglican Church of Canada recognises same-sex marriage while the Anglican Church of England does not. It recognises same-sex relationships and civil partnerships.

Fr Kennington said: “I have been open about my relationship with Jonathan for 22 years while I was working in four parishes. This is not something new.

“The bishops have this idea that they are holding the church together but they really need to catch up with what the clergy are doing in the church.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury had called on the clergy to support. The clergy voted against it 100 votes to 93.