Jeremy Pemberton, an NHS chaplain in Lincolnshire, married his partner Laurence Cunnington in April. Subsequently, the Acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham revoked his Permission to Officiate in his diocese, which meant that he was unable to take up a new post of chaplaincy and bereavement manager for Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – and the Trust subsequently revoked its job offer.
It has now been announced that Canon Pemberton has begun proceedings in an Employment Tribunal; and lawyers acting on his behalf have issued the following statement:
“Canon Jeremy Pemberton, the first British clergyman to enter a same sex marriage, has confirmed that he has filed an Equality Act claim in the Employment Tribunal against the Archbishop of York and the acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham. The action is being brought because of the sanctions imposed upon him as a result of his marriage. Canon Pemberton married his long-term partner Laurence Cunnington in April of this year. Shortly thereafter his permission to officiate was revoked and a licence for chaplaincy work was refused. This led to the withdrawal of a job offer from Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Commenting on his decision to issue proceedings in respect of the alleged discrimination that he has suffered, Canon Pemberton said ‘I am deeply saddened that I have had to take this step against church authorities. However, I feel I have been left with little choice, having found myself being punished and discriminated against simply for exercising my right to marry. I will be making no further comment until these matters have been resolved through the court process.’
Among those assisting Canon Pemberton in his claim are Helen Trotter, a specialist employment and discrimination barrister from Kings Chambers and leading ecclesiastical lawyer, the Revd Justin Gau, from Pump Court Chambers.
8th September 2014″.
With thanks to Thinking Anglicans.
Canon Pemberton cannot win his case. The Church of England’s position is protected by the Equality Act, which was amended specifically for this purpose by the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.
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