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Jeremy Pemberton loses discrimination appeal

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton

A gay clergyman who was denied a promotion after marrying his same-sex partner has lost his appeal over a discrimination claim against the Church of England.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton had been refused a licence to work as a chaplain at King’s Mill Hospital, Sutton-in-Ashfield, after marrying his long-term partner, Laurence Cunnington, in April 2014.

He accused Bishop Richard Inwood, the then Acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, of discrimination and harassment. Those claims were dismissed at an employment tribunal in November 2015. Mr Pemberton then lost an appeal against the ruling the following year.

He subsequently took the case to the Court of Appeal, which upheld the original decision.

In a statement, Mr Pemberton said: "The Church of England has established through this process that it can continue to discriminate legally against LGBT people in relation to their employment, even where that employment is not within the boundaries of the church’s jurisdiction.

"This will seem to most people in the UK today an extraordinary result, and not one that will help commend the claims of Christ to the nation.

"An official position that regards the loves and commitments of LGBT people, including clergy, as sinful is years overdue for thorough-going revision.

"The need for a revolution in attitudes and practices in the church towards this minority is still acute – we continue to wait for real change."

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham said: "We are pleased that the court has upheld the decision made with regards to the employment tribunal.

"We recognise that this has been a long and difficult process for many of those concerned, and we hold them in our thoughts and prayers."

Mr Pemberton will not pursue the case any further, while the Church of England will not seek costs.

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