Law and Sexuality

A commentary and resource on Law and Sexuality by Professor Chris Ashford and guests

Northumbria Gender Sexuality and Law Research Group: LGB(T) people and the Church of England: the legal and institutional field

Clucas_Rob_UoH_0592_web_mNorthumbria Gender Sexuality and Law Research Group: LGB(T) people and the Church of England: the legal and institutional field

Dear All

Please note that our GSL research seminar with Dr Rob Clucas has been re-arranged (originally scheduled for November 2014). Rob will be speaking on ‘LGB(T) people and the Church of England: the legal and institutional field’.

The seminar will take place in the Law School, Northumbria University, City Campus East, Room 214, on Wednesday 29 April 2015 at 3pm.  Light refreshments will be available.

Please let Chris Ashford ( know if you would like to attend.

Feel free to forward these details on to your contacts/networks.


Discussion about the relationship between the Church of England and LGB(T) people often focuses on the obvious matters of dispute between official teaching and LGB(T) rights/interests, such as same-sex marriage; the ordination/consecration of those in ‘practicing’ same-sex relationships; the Equality Act exceptions in Sch 9 for the purposes of an organized religion (Clucas, 2012; Clucas and Sharpe, 2013).

My paper employs a field-theoretical lens (Lewin, 1952) in the broad understanding of an LGBT person’s life space/field/situation as incorporating all those fact that have existence for the individual or group, including conscious perceptions of the environment and the person; unconscious states; needs; goals; physical, political, economic and legal processes. I contend that a more adequate understanding of any LGBT person, or the situation of LGBT people generally within the Church of England environment, must include not only matters experienced directly by the particular person, but also those mattes that impact, overtly or indirectly, on their situation, such as the experiences of other LGBT people.

In this paper, as a means to better understand the field that constitutes LGBT-people-and-the-Church-of-England, I employ the conceptual category of ‘microaggressions’ developed by Derald Wing Sue: ‘brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to a target group…often subtle in nature and … manifested in the verbal, nonverbal, visual or behavioral realm’ (Sue and Sue, 2008, pp. 106–7). This enables a fuller understanding of the more subtle ways in which the Church of England currently constitutes a hostile environment for LGBT people, of the ways in which current antidiscrimination law enables this hostile environment to flourish.


Clucas, R., 2012. Religion, Sexual Orientation and the Equality Act 2010: Gay Bishops in the Church of England Negotiating Rights Against Discrimination. Sociology 46, 936–950. doi:10.1177/0038038512451533

Clucas, R., Sharpe, K., 2013. Women Bishops: equality, rights and disarray. Eccles. Law J. 15, 158–174.

Lewin, K., 1952. Field Theory in Social Science: selected theoretical papers. Tavistock Publications Ltd in collaboration with Routledge Kegan Paul Ltd, London.

Sue, D.W., Sue, D., 2008. Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice, 5th ed. John Wiley and Sons Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.


Rob Clucas (LLB, PCHE, PhD) is Lecturer in Law at the University of Hull.  His research interests have included jurisprudence and children, and his PhD thesis was concerned with a modified application of Alan Gewirth’s moral theory with respect to the rights of children.  He was supported by the AHRB Research Leave Scheme for the project “Children’s rights: autonomy and the welfare/best interests tension. A Welsh perspective”, a study on the practice of the first Children’s Commissioner for Wales.  As B. Clucas he has published articles on jurisprudence; medical ethics, particularly conjoined twins; human rights, and children’s rights and welfare, and with G. Johnstone and T. Ward, he co-edited the Nomos collection Torture: Moral Absolutes and Ambiguities.

Rob was the inaugural Chair of the LGBT Staff Network at the University, and was a national Trustee of the Anglican pressure group, Changing Attitude.

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This entry was posted on February 18, 2015 by in Uncategorized.

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