Gay clergyman wins right to appeal against church
A gay clergyman who lost an employment tribunal against the Church of England has said he’s won the right to appeal the decision.
Canon Jeremy Pemberton took the church to court last year, when he was not allowed to take up a new post as a hospital chaplain because he’d married his partner.
The tribunal and subsequent discrimination case against the then acting Bishop of Southwell were dismissed.
Mr Pemberton has now revealed that the Employment Appeal Tribunal will hold a two day hearing and decide whether there are grounds to grant an appeal.
At the time, the church had argued that he had defied church law by marrying his partner, which the tribunal held as valid and deemed it not to class as discrimination.
The Diocese of Southwell said that it “remained engaged in exploring questions relating to human sexuality”.
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Mr Pemberton has said that the hearing will take place later in the year.
“It’s important to appeal because this is a test case and test cases need testing,” he said.
“The judgement given in the tribunal had some things my lawyers felt needed further testing.”
The appeal will only be hearing the legal argument about how the original tribunal has misinterpreted the law and no new evidence will be presented.
Under the Equality Act 2010, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee on grounds of their sexual orientation. However, a number of conditions exist that can be used by the church to exempt it from the legislation.
Recently, in a letter to openly gay General Synod (governing body) member, Jayne Ozanne, the Archbishop of York signalled that the chuch may become open to the idea of same-sex marriage. But, later clarified his position as a “discussion”.