Employment tribunal says gay chaplain wasn’t discriminated against

An employment tribunal has ruled that gay clergyman Jeremy Pemberton, who was prevented from taking a job as a hospital chaplain, was was not discriminated against.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton was the first member of the Church of England clergy to enter into a same-sex marriage, when he married Laurence Cunnington in 2014.

In his case, Jeremy claimed that the Church of England’s position on same-sex marriage breached the 2010 equality act, after his permission to officiate as a hospital chaplain was revoked.

His claim was against the former acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, the Rt Revd Richard Inwood.

The Tribunal noted: “The claimant would never have been in this position had he not defied the doctrine of the Church.

“The claimant knowingly entered into that marriage and knew what the potential consequences could be for him.

“When so doing, he was in breach of his Oath of Canonical Obedience and the Oath of Affirmations. The Claimant maintains, obviously genuinely, that he believes he could still keep his credibility within the Church whilst being married to Mr Cunnington… but there is the canonical requirement that he has to live his life as a priest consistent with his calling.

“In getting married to his partner, he was flying in the face of the clear restating of doctrine in relation to same-sex marriage.”

The panel also dismissed a claim of harassment made by Canon Jeremy Pemberton.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham said: “We are thankful to the tribunal for its work on this complex case and for its findings in favour of the Rt Revd Richard Inwood, on all the claims made against him.

“Churches across the diocese continue to offer a generous welcome to people from all backgrounds.”

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