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England's Highest Ranking Gay May Sue Church

England's Highest Ranking Gay May Sue Church

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News reports in today's issue of England's The Guardian indicate that Jeffrey John, the Church of England's most senior gay cleric, is considering a lawsuit against the church unless he's made bishop. John is a celibate priest who has been in a long-term relationship with another cleric. He was named bishop of Reading in 2003 but the appointment was revoked after complaints from conservative evangelicals. Then two years ago, he was stopped from becoming the bishop of Southwark, according to The Guardian, after the archbishops of Canterbury and York objected.

Media reports claim John was "so exasperated at his treatment that he had hired Alison Downie, an employment and discrimination law specialist and partner at the law firm Goodman Derrick, to fight his case under equality law."

According to many legal experts in the U.K., John has little chance of winning a suit."Churches can't be forced to employ people where a significant number of the religion's followers object on theological grounds," said employment law specialist Daniel Barnett. He argued that John would have a difficult time proving his case.

Most insiders say John's case hinges on a "damning" internal memo written by Rev Colin Sleea, former dean of Southwark Cathedral, which, says The Guardian, "lays bare the divisions over sexuality at the very top of the church." In it, Sleea claims the archbishops of Canterbury and York "behaved very badly" and were intent on wrecking John's chances of becoming bishop.

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Diane Anderson-Minshall

Diane Anderson-Minshall is the CEO of Pride Media, and editorial director of The Advocate, Out, and Plus magazine. She's the winner of numerous awards from GLAAD, the NLGJA, WPA, and was named to Folio's Top Women in Media list. She and her co-pilot of 30 years, transgender journalist Jacob Anderson-Minshall penned several books including Queerly Beloved: A Love Across Genders.
Diane Anderson-Minshall is the CEO of Pride Media, and editorial director of The Advocate, Out, and Plus magazine. She's the winner of numerous awards from GLAAD, the NLGJA, WPA, and was named to Folio's Top Women in Media list. She and her co-pilot of 30 years, transgender journalist Jacob Anderson-Minshall penned several books including Queerly Beloved: A Love Across Genders.