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In an interview with the mirror, Charlie Bell, a 34-year-old gay priest, shared that he is unable to marry his partner, Piotr Baczyk, in the church because he fears losing his job.

Despite being together for four years, Bell feels compelled to decline marrying his partner due to the potential repercussions within his profession as a pastor.

He said: “It makes me feel guilty as a gay man because I feel that I am associated with an organisation that’s homophobic. It’s crushing when you see hopeful, loving people turn up and I’m not able to do what seems the kindest, most charitable, Christian thing – to marry them by law. It is frustrating and saddening.”

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“We have so many good, longstanding members of our churches who come to us and say, ‘Can we get married?’, and we have to say, ‘No’. Whereas, there are people who have never darkened the door of a church before, but because they want to get married to someone of the opposite sex or gender, we have to marry them. It is a very unjust and bizarre situation.”

“There are constant attempts by people to get priests like me sacked or disciplined

“They write to our bishops and try to find any possible reason to ensure we don’t continue to hold office. It’s so frustrating because most of us don’t want to spend all of our time talking about this – but if we don’t, nobody will and the injustices will continue.”

Charlie and Piotr

“I would be sacked as a priest, “You’re allowed to have a civil partnership, but there can’t be any religious content. And if we did want that, we would have to give assurances to the bishop that the partnership would be celibate.”

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“If you’re gay, they ask you questions about your sex life. And if you’re not then they don’t, which seems strange and says a lot about the culture of the Church.” Charlie is not paid for his role as a priest and said the thought of leaving has crossed his mind many times.

“I do think often about whether I want to continue doing it because of the ongoing discrimination, lack of willingness to implement change, and lack of courage of our bishops. But if we don’t stand up and speak for people, who will? There’s a sense of duty to those of us who have the privilege of office in the Church.”

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“I have just as much right to be in the Church as homophobes do – and as much as they don’t like it, it’s not up to them.” 

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