Lesbian vicar says gay weddings 'unnecessary'

PUBLISHED: 08:50 09 July 2008 | UPDATED: 22:02 15 June 2010

A MEMBER of the clergy in Colyton, who was one of the first to celebrate a civil partnership, has spoken out against the necessity of homosexual 'weddings' on the eve of her 50th year of ordination.

A MEMBER of the clergy in Colyton, who was one of the first to celebrate a civil partnership, has spoken out against the necessity of homosexual 'weddings' - on the eve of her 50th year of ordination.Following the first such ceremony of two male priests in London last month, Reverend Janet Webber, who entered into a civil partnership with her partner Maureen Turner two years ago, said that while homosexual relationships should be public, they did not need to be the same as heterosexual ones or cause public offence."I think lesbian and gay people would be doing themselves a disservice if they tried to imitate a heterosexual wedding," she said."We should have public ceremonies and celebrate with friends and family, but I don't feel ostentatious ceremonies are necessary. It's not helpful to people's acceptance."Marking her time with the church, Miss Webber told people attending the occasion that, when she was first candidated in 1953, less than four per cent of ministers in the Congregational Church were women. While that could be a challenge in itself, she told the Herald she was only treated differently when she came out in 1995."As a woman, I was treated the same as the male clergy. But when I came out, the fundamental conservative wing no longer invited me to preach in those churches - they took the bible literally."Once the chairman of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, which aims to promote acceptance within the church, Miss Webber still feels the church has a long way to go. "I can understand why the Anglican church has been torn apart by these latest events. There are those who take the Bible's text out of its social context," she said.Miss Webber said that, while she had experienced prejudice in the past because of her sexual orientation, people in Colyton had always been welcoming to her and Miss Turner.She said: "We haven't encountered any trace of prejudice here and are so happy to be accepted as a couple."We've been invited to parties as a couple and were congratulated for our partnership. It's only been positive."The comments come in the wake of Little Britain's Matt Lucas's public separation from his partner of six years, only 18 months after their high profile civil partnership, which some are viewing as a test case. Send us a comment on this story.

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