Gay priest loses discrimination appeal after being denied job

Gay priest loses discrimination appeal after being denied job

The Court of Appeal ruled against Canon Jeremy Pemberton

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A gay priest stopped from working as a hospital chaplain after marrying his partner has lost an Appeal Court challenge over his discrimination claim.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton has been a Church of England priest for more than 30 years, but his permission to officiate was revoked following his marriage to Laurence Cunnington in April 2014.

The man was denied a licence to officiate in the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham and this meant he could not work at King's Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield, despite being offered a job.

Canon Pemberton brought an employment tribunal against the Rt Rev Richard Inwood, the former acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, but his claims of discrimination and harassment were dismissed.

This decision upheld in 2016 by the employment appeal tribunal. He then renewed his fight at London's Court of Appeal.

His lawyers claimed the tribunal decisions should be overturned, however this failed.

Lord Justice Underhill and two other judges ruled that the bishop's decision was lawful under the Equality Act today (March 22).

The judge said: "I have no difficulty understanding how profoundly upsetting Canon Pemberton must find the Church of England's official stance on same-sex marriage and its impact on him.

"But it does not follow that it was reasonable for him to regard his dignity as violated, or an 'intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive' environment as having been created for him, by the Church applying its sincerely-held beliefs in a way expressly permitted by Schedule 9 of the [Equality] Act."

He also said that by belonging to "an institution with known, and lawful, rules, it implies no violation of dignity" nor is it a "cause for reasonable offence, that those rules should be applied to you. However wrong you may believe them to be.

"Not all opposition of interests is hostile or offensive."