A CLERGYMAN took the Church of England to an employment tribunal yesterday for alleged discrimination after he was barred from working following his marriage to his male partner.
Reverend Jeremy Pemberton was told he could not officiate as a priest and was refused a licence to work as a hospital chaplain with Sherwood NHS by the then acting bishop of Southwell and Nottingham Richard Inwood.
Mr Pemberton married his partner Laurence last year in a civil ceremony.
The church made the decision on the grounds that its doctrine states that clergy members cannot enter into same-sex marriage.
But Mr Pemberton, who launched his case at Nottingham employment tribunal yesterday, denies going against the church’s teachings and argued the bishop unlawfully discriminated against him under the Equality Act.
Human rights activist Peter Tatchell, who is supporting Mr Pemberton, said: “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?
“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. Discrimination is not a Christian value.
“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.”
Mr Tatchell argued the Archbishop of York John Sentamu is “clearly implicated in the church’s discrimination” for giving advice on the matter.
He accused the archbishop of “victimising, intimidating and bullying” Mr Pemberton.