Gay Nottinghamshire clergyman Jeremy Pemberton considers appeal after tribunal rules he was not discriminated against over hospital job

 Canon Jeremy Pemberton (left) and Laurence Cunnington.
Canon Jeremy Pemberton (left) and Laurence Cunnington.

A gay clergyman who was prevented from taking up a job at a Nottinghamshire hospital after he married his partner, said he is considering launching an appeal after an employment tribunal ruled he was not discriminated against.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton, from Southwell, was not treat unfairly when church officials revoked his license to practice at King’s Mill Hospital, after he married in April 2014, the 58-page judgement ruled.

Canon Pemberton alleged the Church of England’s stance on same-sex marriage breached the 2010 Equality Act.

The judgement panel also dismissed a claim that former acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, the Rt Rev Richard Inwood had discrimnated against him because of his sexual orientation.

Commenting on the tribunal’s decision, a spokesman for the diocese said: “We are thankful to the tribunal for its work on this complex case and for its findings in favour of the Rt Rev Richard Inwood, on all the claims made against him.

“We recognise that it has been a long and difficult process for all concerned, and we continue to hold them in our thoughts and prayers.

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

“We remain engaged in the ongoing shared conversations across the wider Church of England that are exploring questions relating to human sexuality.”

Rt Rev Inwood announced in July 2014 that Canon Pemberton’s licence to officiate in the diocese had been removed ‘in view of the Church’s pastoral guidance’.

And according to the bishop, the House of Bishops’ guidance said same-sex marriage was “clearly at variance” within the Church of England, so it would not be appropriate for anybody in holy orders to enter a gay marriage.

This decision prevented Canon Pemberton from taking up a post as a bereavement manager at the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust.

The clergyman expressed disappointment at the tribunal in Nottingham, but thanked those who supported the legal action.

He said: “We are obviously very disappointed. Our lawyers have considered the judgment and are in the process of preparing the grounds of appeal for submission to the employment appeal tribunal.

“We would like to thank all of those who have supported us through this litigation process thus far.”

During the tribunal, Church of England representatives argued he had gone against its doctrine when he married in “a blaze of publicity”.

But the clergyman said there would not have been an issue if he had entered into a civil partnership rather than a marriage.

The panel declared that the acting bishop had acted reasonably in deciding the church doctrine had been breached by Pemberton.

After quoting a letter sent by the Rt Revd Inwood to Canon Pemberton in June 2014, the panel stated: “The respondent is self-evidently treating the marriage as being in breach of pastoral guidance.

“The reason he (the acting bishop) has concluded therefore that the (licence) should be revoked is essentially because the claimant by marrying is not complying with the current doctrine and by defying the House of Bishops is in breach of his duty or canonical obedience.

“We have no doubt whatsoever that the present doctrine of the Church is clear.”