The first gay clergy to marry in the UK, who was later sacked for doing so, has accused the Church of England of homophobia, and says he is considering legal action.
Canon Jeremy Pemberton, 58, formerly a hospital chaplain, was the first member of the clergy to enter into a same-sex marriage, when he wed his partner Laurence Cunnington in April.
His marriage defied a decision by the House of Bishops, which has banned gay clergy from marrying, and he later had his permission to officiate revoked. This meant he was also unable to take up another job at the NHS, as he was declined the correct licences.
Pemberton said in an interview with the Guardian: “I don’t think it’s clear that what they’ve done is legal, I certainly don’t think it’s fair. There’s been no process. The bishop is effectively threatening my ability to be in employment. It’s clear that the only reason my taking that [post] up is threatened is about nothing to do with my ability as a chaplain but is entirely about the fact that I got married.”
The Guardian reports that Pemberton is now investigating whether he may be able to bring a legal case against the Church for its actions.
The Church of England maintains that getting married went against its teachings.