Rev Pemberton refused a licence after marrying his male partner
Legal case opens today at Nottingham Employment Tribunal
London, UK – 15 June 2015
Canon Jeremy Pemberton today begins his historic employment discrimination case against the Church of England over its withdrawal of his right to officiate as a priest and its refusal to give him a licence to take up a chaplaincy post with Sherwood NHS.
The case takes place at Nottingham Employment Tribunal.
“There are two human rights principles at stake in this case. Is the Church of England exempt from the laws prohibiting workplace discrimination and is it entitled to discriminate against gay clergy who have been lawfully married in a civil ceremony?,” noted Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner and Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
Mr. Tatchell is supporting Rev Pemberton and last October confronted the Archbishop of York, accusing him of “victimising, intimidating and bullying” Pemberton.
“Rev Pemberton had his permission to officiate as a priest withdrawn after his lawful same-sex civil marriage to his partner, Laurence. He was also refused a licence to take up a chaplaincy post with Sherwood NHS.
“This strikes me as a clear case of employment discrimination. The Church of England has no right to seek exemption from the anti-discrimination laws that apply to everyone else.
“The disciplinary action was taken by the acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Richard Inwood, after seeking advice from the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who is thereby clearly implicated in the church’s discrimination against Rev Pemberton.
“It is disgraceful homophobia to deprive a priest of his right to work because he married the man he loves. Discrimination is not a Christian value.
“Jeremy Pemberton married his partner Laurence last year in a civil ceremony.
“Jeremy sought appointment to a job in the NHS. It is not reasonable for the Church of England to dictate to the NHS who it can employ.
“Just because the Church of England treats lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) clergy as second class Christians this is no excuse for it to impose its anti-gay discrimination on non-church institutions.
“In June 2014, Jeremy was offered the role of Chaplaincy Manager at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust in Nottinghamshire. The job offer was withdrawn because the church refused to give Jeremy the required licence – solely because of his marriage to Laurence,” said Mr Tatchell.