Gay MP and former vicar quits Church of England over its stance on homosexuality

Chris Bryant Bryant was priested in 1987, but resigned as a youth chaplain in 1991.Reuters

A former vicar who resigned his living and became an MP after deciding being gay was incompatible with priesthood has now left the Anglican Church altogether.

Chris Bryant, who celebrated the first civil partnership in the House of Commons with his partner Jared Cranney in 2010, said the Church's stance on homosexuality will one day be seen as equally wrong as its backing for slavery two centuries ago.

He announced his decision to leave the Church on Twitter after the Primates of the Anglican Communion, meeting in Canterbury, voted to sanction The Episcopal Church of the US by barring it from some Anglican decision-making bodies for three years as punishment for consecrating gay bishops and backing gay marriage.

The Labour MP for Rhondda in Wales tweeted:

Soon afterwards he added: "A woman who calls herself Christian has emailed she is delighted I have given up on the Anglican Church because she says I'm not welcome."

He also retweeted people on Twitter who made such comments as feeling "ashamed" to be Anglican after the TEC sactions were imposed. 

Bryant, a former Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs who returned to the back benches after Labour's election defeat, also told BBC Wales: "The whole point of the Anglican communion is that we agree in the autonomy of its churches. I think we've behaved disgracefully to the American church. This is the established Church of England taking a stance against homosexuality. Ironically the Church in Wales is much more liberal on this issue.

"Church leaders should read the Bible – Jesus's message was not one of hatred and division, but one of peace and understanding."

Bryant, priested in 1987, served his curacy at All Saints, High Wycombe from 1986 to 1989 and then worked as a youth chaplain in Peterborough before resigning in 1991.