Thinking Anglicans

Court of Appeal dismisses Pemberton case

Updated Thursday evening

The Court of Appeal has today dismissed the appeal by Jeremy Pemberton against the earlier judgement of the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

The judgement is now available online: Pemberton v Inwood [2018] EWCA Civ 564, with a printable version here.

There are numerous media reports:

Anglican Communion News Service Priest in same-sex marriage loses legal challenge to bishop’s “discriminatory” response

Guardian Gay hospital chaplain loses discrimination appeal against C of E

Christian Today Gay clergyman Jeremy Pemberton loses discrimination appeal against Church of England

Press Association via Premier Gay priest denied job after marrying partner loses discrimination appeal

BBC Gay priest Jeremy Pemberton’s discrimination appeal dismissed

Huffington Post Gay Priest Jeremy Pemberton Loses Discrimination Appeal Against The Church Of England

Newark Advertiser Jeremy Pemberton loses discrimination appeal

Nottingham Post Gay priest ‘naturally disappointed’ after his appeal over discrimination claim is dismissed

Church Times Bishop was in his rights to refuse Pemberton a licence, tribunal rules

Jeremy Pemberton has issued a press release, which is copied below the fold.

ACNS reports:

Commenting on today’s judgment, a Southwell and Nottingham diocesan spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the court has upheld the decision made with regards to the employment tribunal. We recognise that this has been a long and difficult process for many of those concerned, and we hold them in our thoughts and prayers.”

OneBodyOneFaith has issued a statement: Disappointment and gratitude as Pemberton case concludes

“…The question now is less whether the bishop acted legally – that seems beyond doubt – but whether people want to continue to support this kind of discrimination against committed, loving couples as they seek to follow Christ. There is a real sense of the need for change, the will for change and the time for change.“

Press Release from Jeremy Pemberton

The Court of Appeal has examined the issues in my claim against Bishop Richard Inwood and has dismissed them. I am grateful for the expertise of the Court, though naturally disappointed in the judgment.

I have reached a settlement agreement with the Church of England that I will not pursue this claim any further. They, on their part, will not apply for costs against me.

I am more grateful than I can say to Sean Jones QC, Helen Trotter, Justin Gau, and Susanna Reynhart of Thompson Snell & Passmore. Since the end of the original tribunal hearing they have all represented me pro bono with great skill and commitment. We have worked together for three and a half years on this case, and I count myself very blessed to have had them alongside me every step of the way. I am also very grateful to Bishop Alan Wilson, my expert witness; to my family for their support; and to the countless people who have written, messaged, telephoned and spoken to me expressing their solidarity.

The Church of England has established through this process that it can continue to discriminate legally against some LGBT people in relation to their employment, even where that employment is not within the boundaries of the church’s jurisdiction. This will seem to most people in the UK today an extraordinary result, and not one that will help commend the claims of Christ to the nation. An official position that regards the loves and commitments of LGBT people, including clergy, as sinful by definition is years overdue for thorough-going revision. The need for a revolution in attitudes and practices in the Church towards this minority is still acute – we continue to wait for real change.

I hope that I shall be permitted to return to active ministry at some point. Had I committed an infraction that was dealt with under the Clergy Discipline Measure, then I might have been told I was being suspended for a definite period, with the hope and expectation of restoration after that. Because I was never dealt with under any process, I have no permission to officiate at all, and no indication of when I might hope to have that restored. Everything is in the hands of, and at the will of individual bishops.

Finally, I owe most to Laurence Cunnington. He has been rock-like and constant in his support and love in this, as in all things. We look forward to celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary soon. I cannot thank him enough for the honour he does me in being my husband.

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Jeremy
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Jeremy

Well, now it’s up to Parliament.

David Lamming
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David Lamming

The Court of Appeal judgments are now available to download from the BAILII website:
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2018/564.html

ExRevd
Guest
ExRevd

This is a tragic outcome, with the Church’s obvious straining after legalistic gnats a glaring contrast to its cavalier approach to justice (and the law of the land) being starkly exposed by the IICSA hearings. Rather than just holding those involved in thoughts and prayers, it might be better to weigh up: the frustrated vocations of those involved; their loss of livelihood; the costs to those who wished to employ them; the denial of experienced pastoral care, witness and ministry to the sick and troubled; the waste of training and experience; and overall reputational damage that comes from being seen… Read more »

Fr Andrew
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Fr Andrew

Well what a week of shame for the Church of England this is turning out to be. Married heterosexual? Slap it on the press release. Married non-heterosexual? Remove the licence, hire the lawyers and never, but never, give in. Being an individual rather than a corporate litigant is exhausting, so maximum respect to Jeremy for having the courage to take this this far. And yet again, shame, shame, shame on the Church of England for pursuing this. One day an ABC will be sat in front of an Inquiry, wringing his hands and weeping crocodile tears about this too. What… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

“Thoughts and prayers”

Who on earth in the diocese thought this was a suitable phrase to use? It is the kind of thing that Senators funded by the NRA say after the latest school shooting. It is what Trump says. It means nothing in those contexts. Why use it?

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

The whole thing is a disgrace. That the Church of England – especially its clerical leadership – should consent to being an accessory to this is a black eye, a sucker punch and a kick in the backside to the vocation and dignity of all Christians.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Isn’t the shame that recognised abusers were granted PTOs but a man whose only fault is to marry… A man.. is denied one?

Can someone please explain to me how the Diocese can, in those circumstances, issue a press release indicating pleasure? Because, to me, it seems like rejoicing in ramming it to an individual while failing to act against institutional failures.

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

The reality is that Pemberton would have been more likely to have kept his license if he had been diddling adolescents or parishioners instead of entering into a faithful marriage. Regardless of the official theology, that’s that theology of the Church of England on the ground. Disgusting. In addition, the diocese should rethink its “thoughts and prayers” comment. That was the standard response by spineless American politicians after each new round of mass school shootings in the U.S. The surviving victims of these shootings have attacked this response as meaningless drivel. It is. And the diocesan response is precisely the… Read more »

Another Fr David
Guest
Another Fr David

‘Pleased at the outcome….yet holding those involved in our thoughts and prayers….’ Does anyone in the diocese of S&N really understand just how disingenuous this statement is? I do feel it is only those who pursued this case who emerge badly. I realised the game was truly up for opponents of same sex equality when my dear mother, 81 and a lifelong middle of the road Anglican, told me that even she didn’t understand why some bishops persist with this persecution. I suppose the waiting will have to go on, but it’s mean and nasty and many, many people, religious… Read more »

Tom
Guest
Tom

Fr Andrew, it’s hardly the Church of England’s fault for ‘pursuing this’. They’ve been taken to tribunal three times, and each time it’s been established they acted justly and according to both the law and church doctrine. The fact that they’re still willing to absorb the costs (estimated at at least £500,000) despite having done nothing wrong is admirable.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Funny how they are able to refuse licenses for Jeremy Pemberton, remove PTOs from Jeremy Pemberton, Jeremy Timm and Andrew Foreshew-Cain, but are completely powerless to do anything at all about reported child abuses.

I shall sleep better tonight for knowing that they’re at least hot on the tails of marriage criminals.

What a victory!

Tim M
Guest
Tim M

Particularly galling to me is the offer of “thoughts and prayers” from the Diocese’s spokesperson. “Thoughts and prayers” has recently come to embody a lack of empathy or willingness to engage meaningfully; anyone in touch with current affairs would realise how this term would come across. It is not only a hollow-sounding platitude, but also ignorant of what is happening beyond the goldfish bowl of church politics.

Laurie Roberts
Guest
Laurie Roberts

Father Andrew speaks my mind, and surely for many others -and expresses it so very well.

Such brio gives one a boost, on a sad, sad day :–
‘Married heterosexual? Slap it on the press release.
Married non-heterosexual? Remove the licence, hire the lawyers and never, but never, give in.’

The fact that the law, is said to permit bigotry, hardly makes it right.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

How much has the Church of England spent on this exercise in injustice and denial of human rights? It may have won its phyric victory but in doing so shown the bankruptcy of its morality. The Archbishop of Canterbury said that the IICSA revelations made him ashamed of the Church. Many of us aren’t ‘ashamed’, we’re furious and extremely angry. Not in my name.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

‘…we hold them in our thoughts and prayers’. The meaningless formularies of the indifferent.

Fr Andrew
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Fr Andrew

“Fr Andrew, it’s hardly the Church of England’s fault for ‘pursuing this’. I was referring to the C of e pursuing the persecution of people in non-heterosexual marriages, not the pursuit of a legal case. However, to suggest that Jeremy Pemberton was some sort of aggressive litigant in this is rather like blaming Rosa Parks for sitting on the bus. What else can you do if you are a (relatively) powerless victim of injustice up against a powerful oppressive institution which operates without a moral compass. You use the only tool available to you that gives you the vague possibility… Read more »

Marc S
Guest
Marc S

I can’t imagine the legal position was ever in much doubt. The tragedy here is that an organisation which should focus on truth, love and equality instead uses its (unjustifiable) legal exemptions to support what constitutes bigotry.

Like others posting here, I am appalled and ashamed.

Jill Armstead
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Jill Armstead

If the Church of England goes on to approve same sex marriage and continues to reconstruct the Christian faith based on lifestyle choice and the cult of the individual as against the common good, surely it will have to construct another Saviour? I realise I am dangerously sticking my head above the parapet but many if not most faithful Anglicans share my fears.

Peter S
Guest
Peter S

Jeremy Pemberton – please be assured of my prayers for you and your husband in the midst of all of this. May you continue to be an agent of God’s grace in this weary and war-torn world.

ExRevd
Guest
ExRevd

Tom: “it’s been established they acted justly and according to both the law and church doctrine” On church doctrine, that’s no longer my area of expertise or direct concern. And I’m certainly no lawyer. Doctrine is open to development however, and the legal landscape can change rapidly. In particular, sectoral ministries operate, de facto if not de jure, at the pleasure of the institutions that request chaplaincy services. It’s not set in stone that the church will always be welcome to provide these ministries in hospitals or schools (the latter area will I think become ever more contested in the… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

Tom, it may be the law but it isn’t just, as so many others have commented. To begin with, it’s an affront to very many people that the state Church has an exemption from the Equality Act. Then, the Church is always upholding marriage as an ideal, then punishes Pemberton for being faithful to that ideal. He could have lived with his partner and incurred no penalty, but when he had their union solemnised he was punished. That’s hypocrisy. The job he was prevented from taking wasn’t even in the Church, it was in hospital chaplaincy. And finally, as others… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

Simon (perhaps wisely) didn’t post a rant of mine on another thread. But to summarise: it appears that the Church of England’s senior leadership is much more interested in dealing with the “problem” of homosexuality, than it is on dealing with the rather more real problem of child abuse. It is firm on the former, indifferent to the latter. It apparently thinks that as a long-term proposition, an organisation that excludes gays while welcoming and forgiving paedophiles is in tune with the nation, and in tune with its membership. Were I a betting man, I would bet that this is… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Interested Observer wrote: “it appears that the Church of England’s senior leadership is much more interested in dealing with the ‘problem’ of homosexuality, than it is on dealing with the rather more real problem of child abuse.” Isn’t this what should appall the most? CofE leaders want to maintain Cantuar’s position in the Communion, so they fight an expensive and, ultimately, losing battle on same-sex marriage in England. English hierarchs are putting their own personal interests–preservation of their own global position–ahead of celebrating the sacrament of marriage for faithful English people. It’s a breach of duty to Canterbury’s English flock.… Read more »

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

“If the Church of England goes on to approve same sex marriage and continues to reconstruct the Christian faith”

Fear not Jill. There is no sign of the former on the horizon, and it’s been doing the latter since 597.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Marc, the legal situation was very much in doubt, and I still do not understand how they could have lost this case. All courts ruled that the CoE is a qualification body. Its exemption from the Equality Act is solely for the purpose of religion. During the tribunal hearing, the church said several times that NHS Chaplaincy was not for the purpose of religion – this is recorded and verifiable. With that, it should have been case closed. Instead, all courts ruled that, despite the witness statements, NHS Chaplaincy was for the purpose of religion and that the exemption from… Read more »

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

I’ve always been surprised that more was not made of Article 32 in this case.

XXXII. Of the Marriage of Priests.
Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, are not commanded by God’s Law, either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage: therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness.

Robert Ellis
Guest
Robert Ellis

I was very disappointed that the NHS caved in so easily in the early stages of this saga…issuing a bog standard press release or reply to anyone questioning their decision not to proceed with the appointment….I think there are issues there that certainly need looking at. As for Richard Inwood – I think he should hang his head in shame…..and as for the C of E using our money – it is a pyrrhic victory. I’m just totally frustrated and angered by it all…just what do we do to move things on? Jeremy I’m so sorry you have had to… Read more »

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

‘I’ve always been surprised that more was not made of Article 32 in this case.’ Thanks to the Equalities Act religious exemption, presumably it’s both legal for a priest to contract a marriage and for their bishop to then sack them for that marriage because they subscribe to an infantile view of both God and human sexuality (or they’re afraid of those who do). The solution is surely not recourse to the 39 Articles (after all there’s some stuff best left well alone in that particular repository of faith). The solution is the removal of the religious exemption from the… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Here as so often, the law’s an ass: by treating Jeremy differently in different dioceses, on the basis of nothing but a bishop’s whim, the CoE acted in an arbitrary manner. Multiple judges accepted the legalistic justification at face value instead of substituting their own judgment.

I’m sure Jeremy’s had enough of English courts and their pretended justice to last anyone a lifetime, but there may yet be scope for someone else to take a different course, and try and get the Equality Act exemptions struck down … sorry, “disapplied” for failing to properly implement the relevant European directives.

Andrew
Guest

I’m no expert in employment law, to be sure. But I’m surprised there isn’t a strong case against the NHS trust. It is they who have denied employment to this man – on grounds that surely amount to discrimination. There are enough other cases where actions have been held to be discriminatory due to indirect issues. Why isn’t this case similar? The CoE may be exempt. The NHS isn’t. Why sue the first instead of the second?

Kate
Guest
Kate

There’s an assumption in many comments that Parliament can remove the relevant exemption if it wants. I am not certain that is the case. Most equality legislation flows from various EU instruments. I think the exemption in this case was one of those. There are separate exemptions which apply only to the Church of England, mostly in relation to conducting same sex marriage services and marriage of people who have undergone gender reassignment. Those could be removed fairly easily but I don’t think that would impact this case at all. Nor would a change in national policy prevent cases like… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

The CoE being a state church, the British Parliament can simply change her doctrine, as the Danish legislature changed the doctrine of the Folkekirken.

Alternatively, the exemption can be narrowed, as it originally was before the House of Lords amended it.

In the meantime, how every affirming member of a congregation refuses to donate a penny unless their church agrees to withhold their entire parish share until CoE policy changes? If, as we’re constantly told, a majority of members believe in equality, this could force a change within months.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“In the meantime, how every affirming member of a congregation refuses to donate a penny unless their church agrees to withhold their entire parish share until CoE policy changes? If, as we’re constantly told, a majority of members believe in equality, this could force a change within months.” I believe this is the correct way forwards. The point has come, I think, that in donating to the Church as things stand we make ourselves complicit in the discrimination, especially now we have learned that the Church of England has spent 500k getting courts to uphold that discrimination. We should aim… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

“If the Church of England goes on to approve same sex marriage and continues to reconstruct the Christian faith based on lifestyle choice and the cult of the individual as against the common good, surely it will have to construct another Saviour?” As recently as 3 years ago I would have agreed with you, Jill but then I came to realise that the Savior described in the Bible wouldn’t discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation or gender history. Moreover, the single biggest issue addressed by the Church in the years after Jesus’s death was whether the new Grace applied to… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

Kate, the teaching that Christians should avoid marriage comes from St. Paul’s epistles, particularly 1 Corinthians 7. Epistles are letters, in this case written to answer specific questions (7:1) and advise how to live and behave in specific circumstances. In this section St. Paul makes it clear that the teaching is his own, not the Lord’s. When I taught an expository series on 1 Corinthians some years ago I reached the conclusion that if St. Paul were writing now he might advise differently. When writing to the Corinthian church he thought ‘this world as we know it is passing away’.… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Janet, Matthew 19:10-11 is pretty clear but it is supported by others like Matthew 8:18—22 on making Jesus, not family, one’s focus.

It is always unclear precisely what proto-Gospel Paul relied upon which makes the Epistles (even those securely attributed to Paul) difficult but 1 Corinthians 7 seems to repeat the Gospel teaching and add explanations: avoid marriage if possible but if that is too high a burden, then marriage is not a sin, essentially it is what Catholics call an indulgence. It is a distinct change from OT teaching, which pretty much made marriage a right,even an obligation.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

*especially now we have learned that the Church of England has spent 500k getting courts to uphold that discrimination*

Next time the Church of England is pleading poverty, and next time it’s criticising others for not being sufficiently charitable, this can be borne in mind. That half million could have paid for quite a lot of food banking. But instead, Welby thinks it’s more important to fight legal cases in furtherance of the culture wars.

Steve
Guest
Steve

So, when are One Body One Faith, or their members and supporters in the General Synod, going to propose a Measure to change the Church of England’s position?

Ian H
Guest
Ian H

Kate…’I think, that in donating to the Church….’
Well…first it’s paying your own minister…and second, if you initiate a war with money then that’s certainly not going to end well. I’m not convinced it will anyway but this is a sure fire catalyst for a buffer-stop experience.