This week’s employment tribunal involving the Bishop of Hereford could set an important precedent for gay people.
A gay man, John Reaney, is claiming that he was discriminated against on the grounds of his sexuality.
The case will be a test of the 2003 law that protects gay, bisexual and lesbian people in employment.
The law contains an exemption for religious organisations but it is generally only thought to apply to the appointment of clerics.
Mr Reaney was previously employed as a youth officer for the Norwich and Chester Church of England diocese.
In an application form for a similar job in Hereford, Mr Reaney stated that he is gay.
Following a successful interview, he was told that subject the consent of the bishop, he would be appointed.
However, after meeting Bishop Priddis, he was told that he was not selected for the position. He claims he was asked humiliating questions about his personal life.
At a tribunal on Wednesday, the bishop will give evidence.
A spokesman for Bishop Priddis told the Sunday Telegraph:
“John Reaney did not get the job he applied for in the diocese. We expect the same sexual standards of behaviour from support ministers, or lay ministers, as we do of clergy.”
Stonewall is supporting Mr Reaney’s case.
Chief executive Ben Summerskill told PinkNews.co.uk:
“It is particularly important that we have supported this case because it is a perfect example of the category of staff that some faith organisations have claimed they are still entitled to discriminate against.
“However strong someone’s prejudice might be, that does not exempt them from the law of the land.
“We have heard a great deal from various bishops about how they re not prejudice against gay people.
“If John Reaney’s case is successful it will significantly undermine the credibility of those claims.”