The first priest to marry his same-sex partner has begun a discrimination case against the Church of England over its withdrawal of his right to officiate as a priest following the union.
Canon Jeremy Pemberton, who married Laurence Cunnington in April 2014, had been informed that Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS trust was withdrawing an offer of a job after Bishop Richard Inwood refused him the official licence in the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham.
The clergyman, who argues that Inwood unlawfully discriminated against him, told the first day of hearings at Nottingham employment tribunal how he felt after his permission to officiate (PTO) was revoked.
“PTOs are (only) really revoked if someone has done something serious, they’re criminally involved, is involved in an affair or has lost their capacity,” said Pemberton, the Lincolnshire Echo reported.
A spokesman for the Church of England said the church has no truck with homophobia and supports clergy who are in civil partnerships.
He added: “The Church of England’s doctrine on marriage is clear. The church quite reasonably expects its clergy to honour their commitment to model and live up to the teachings of the church. Clergy do not have the option of treating the teachings of the church as an à la carte menu and only modelling those with which they personally agree.
If you’re going to be an official of the club, officiate in the club, it’s hardly too much to ask that you follow the rules of the club, is it?
Bit like a footie ref insisting he’ll have no truck with the offside laws. Not quite the point of him being there, is it?