Updated yet again Wednesday afternoon
The BBC reports on the employment tribunal case that is being heard this week in Nottingham: Gay canon Jeremy Pemberton in Church discrimination tribunal.
A clergyman barred from working because he married his partner has denied going against the Church’s teachings, an employment tribunal heard.
Canon Jeremy Pemberton was refused a licence to work as a hospital chaplain by the then acting bishop of Southwell and Nottingham.
He brought a discrimination case which started on Monday.
The Rt Revd Richard Inwood argued the marriage was against the Church of England’s teachings.
Although Mr Pemberton was employed by the NHS, he needed a licence from the diocese to work at King’s Mill Hospital in Mansfield which was refused.
Canon Jeremy Pemberton was appointed Head of Chaplaincy and Bereavement Services in the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust but the Church declined a licence.
At the opening of the hearing at Nottingham Justice Centre earlier, his lawyer said “equality has reached the door of the church. Where that boundary lies is for you to decide”.
Lawyers representing the Church suggested that Mr Pemberton had gone against the Church’s teachings.
He replied: “No, because I have had a civil marriage. I believe that was the moral thing to do…”
Also at the BBC Caroline Wyatt has this which includes a 2 minute video report. She interviews Malcolm Brown and Andrew Symes as well as Peter Tatchell.
Earlier, she published this detailed analysis of the case: Will the Church ever accept same-sex marriage? which should be read in full. Here is an excerpt:
…The Church acknowledged that its teachings now diverged for the first time from the general understanding and definition of marriage by Parliament.
However, the Church of England says that it nonetheless values theological debate, and allows clergy to argue for a change in its teaching on marriage and human sexuality, while making clear that they should not marry someone of the same sex.
At the same time, it has no wish to be seen as homophobic, and has also issued guidance to say that the Church welcomes gay and lesbian clergy and laity and considers homophobia unacceptable.
But can it hold those two positions at the same time for much longer, especially as social mores around the Church continue to change rapidly, with younger generations in the UK far more likely than their elders to accept same-sex marriage as a given?
The Church may well see its position in this case as clear: that those who serve as clergy must live up to all the teachings of the Church, whether they agree with them or not.
However, campaigners for change in its current position on same-sex marriage will argue with equal vigour that the Church’s doctrine has adapted in the past to accommodate changing social mores, and – if it wanted to – the Church of England could do so again.
Other media reports so far:
Nottingham Post Tribunal hears first day of gay clergyman discrimination case
…Today, Thomas Linden, representing the respondent, cross-examined Pemberton on a several issues including his claim for harassment, the background prior to the wedding as well as the ‘media storm’ that followed his marriage.
At one point Pemberton broke down in tears in front of the tribunal as he recounted how he felt after his PTO was revoked.
He said: “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.”
Mr Linden, representing the church claimed that following the revocation, Pemberton could have continued to perform for the choir and carry on in parish life.
Pemberton replied: “Not as a priest.”
Pemberton also defended claims he was ‘surprised’ by the publicity he received on his wedding day and in the weeks that followed.
A spokesman for the C of E said: “The Church of England supports gay men and women who serve as clergy in its parishes, dioceses and institutions. Jeremy Pemberton is one of many who currently serve and received that support.
“The Church of England has no truck with homophobia and supports clergy who are in civil partnerships.
“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 not have the option of treating the teachings of the Church as an a la carte menu and only modelling those with which they personally agree.
“The Church is currently involved in a process of shared conversation about a range of issues on sexuality in regions across the country. It is regrettable that this case risks undermining that process by invoking legislation which does not even apply to this situation.”
Both the Telegraph and the Guardian have reports on Tuesday morning:
And here are two reports of what happened on the second day of the hearing:
Update Wednesday afternoon
The following has now appeared on the Church of England website: Statement on Nottingham Employment Tribunal. This appears to be the same statement quoted in several media reports yesterday, and not related directly to the developments in the case at today’s hearing.