News » Religion

Gay UK Dean Threatens to Sue Church of England

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Tuesday Jan 17, 2012

The Very Rev. Jeffrey John, dean of St. Albans, recently said that he may sue the Church of England as he has been rejected from becoming Bishop of Southwark, the Daily Mail reported in a Jan. 14 article.

Southwark is a district in Central London, about a mile and a half east of Charing Cross. St. Albans is one of England's "home counties," meaning it is within rough commuting distance of London.

The controversial reverend recently hired a lawyer in order to discuss his grievance with church officials. John believes that he can sue because of the Equality Act of 2010, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Alison Downie, John's lawyer, wrote to the Crown Nominations Commission saying that the group was violating equality laws if they rejected him based on being gay. Although John has not taken legal action yet, Dowie and lawyers from the Church have been trying to resolve the issue.

This isn't the first time John has been in the media spotlight. In 2003, it was discovered that he was in a gay celibate relationship and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams forced him to step down as Bishop of Reading.

The dean made headlines once again in 2010 when a Church of England committee decided against nominating him for Bishop of Southwark, the Associated Press reported in a July 2010, article. John was rejected despite having strong support from senior Church liberals and David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the UK.

The conservative right wing list serve Free Republic reported John's story and a number of the site's readers left outrageous and bigoted comments.

"The plaintiff's sense of entitlement is overwhelming," one commenter wrote. "The church is not a government or for-profit institution and if it thinks this flamer is not suited to be a bishop they have every right to hire someone else."

"Why is this 'dean" so adamant about being bishop? Are there more available altar boys to sodomize and rape," another wrote.


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