Thinking Anglicans

Employment Tribunal rules against Jeremy Pemberton

Updated yet again Thursday teatime

The Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham has issued this press release

Employment tribunal finds in favour of Bishop

The Employment Tribunal that heard the case brought by Jeremy Pemberton against Bishop Richard Inwood has released its findings, dismissing all the claims brought against the Bishop.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham said: “We are thankful to the tribunal for its work on this complex case and for its findings in favour of the former Acting Diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Richard Inwood, on all the claims made against him.

“We recognise that it has been a long and difficult process for all concerned, and we continue to hold them in our thoughts and prayers.

“Churches across the diocese continue to offer a generous welcome to people from all backgrounds. We remain engaged in the on-going shared conversations across the wider Church of England that are exploring questions relating to human sexuality.”

The Claimant’s lawyers have issued this statement:

“We are obviously very disappointed by the Employment Tribunal’s decision; our lawyers have considered the judgment and are in the process of preparing the Grounds of Appeal for submission to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. We would like to thank all of those who have supported us through this litigation process thus far.”

The full text of the judgment can be downloaded from here.

Updates

LGCM has issued this response: Justice for Jeremy – we fight on.

Peter Tatchell has issued this response: Tribunal rules Church can dictate who NHS employs.

Four Three blog articles in response:

Initial press coverage of this case:

Pink News Gay chaplain loses employment tribunal after being sacked by Church for marrying

Premier Radio Canon Jeremy Pemberton loses tribunal claim the Church discriminated against him for being in gay marriage

Newark Advertiser Jeremy Pemberton loses discrimination case

Nottingham Post Gay priest not discriminated against, employment tribunal rules

Guardian Gay hospital chaplain loses discrimination case against CofE

BBC Gay canon Jeremy Pemberton was not discriminated against

ITV Gay clergyman loses discrimination claim at employment tribunal

Church Times (article revised) First gay marriage priest Jeremy Pemberton loses employment tribunal

Telegraph Hospital chaplain loses gay marriage tribunal against Church of England

Christian Today Gay priest who married partner loses employment discrimination claim

Lincolnshire Echo Gay canon Jeremy Pemberton was not discriminated against

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Ian Paul
Guest

The ruling is so clear and definitive, it is difficult to see what grounds of appeal there could be that would have any hope of success.

The Tribunal believes: the stated doctrine of the Church is clear; at every point the bishops have acted consistently in line with that; JP was very well aware of it; processes have clearly been followed. All this supported with very thorough substantiation from both the documents of the C of E and legal precedents.

Not much of a chink there.

Peter Ould ☩ (@PeterOuld)
Guest

The case pretty well rests on the assertion by the Tribunal that the refusal to grant a licence was covered by the CofE exemption in the Equality Act. Any appeal is going to have to overturn that position and I can’t see how.

It could also get very expensive if Pemberton lost.

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

“Churches across the diocese continue to offer a generous welcome to people from all backgrounds. We remain engaged in the on-going shared conversations across the wider Church of England that are exploring questions relating to human sexuality.”

Yuck.

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

The bureaucrats (and that includes the bishops) and moralized it, rationalize it and “illegalize” it anyway they like; but at the end of the day this is a lousy way to treat a faithful servant. Beneath contemptible.

Pluralist
Guest

My best wishes for Jeremy Pemberton. I remember a local court case about land that our side won – how absolute is a court judgment when its axe comes down. It raises for me the question of a non-discriminatory body requiring the yes of a discriminatory body in order to qualify for potential employment. I have the view that priesthood is not limited to one Church, that an independent or other Church-based priest or minister can still use Anglican forms, or as near as, and that Jeremy is clearly in the wrong Church as regards his rightly desired personal circumstances… Read more »

Iain McLean
Guest
Iain McLean

I’m not an Anglican and maybe I should keep out of this. But I find it quite intolerable that 26 representatives of a body that, per this ruling, has the right to directly discriminate, should make laws governing me and every other non-Anglican. Would, e.g., Ian Paul or Peter Ould be able to explain what possible legitimacy their continued presence in the legislature might have?

As for pretensions to moral leadership, forget about it. Even if they stay in the Lords, they will no longer be taken seriously as moralists.

Amanda Fairclough
Guest
Amanda Fairclough

Ian and Peter, I don’t share your dismissiveness of the merits of an appeal (although I share Peter’s concern about the costs). However, with the greatest respect, none of the three of us is an experienced employment lawyer, although we no doubt have varying degrees of lay knowledge to inform our opinions. In the secular courts our opinions are irrelevant; those qualified must present their arguments and those appointed to judge will do so. Meanwhile, those of us who consider ourselves members of the CofE are entitled to form and debate our opinions on what Church doctrine is, whether it… Read more »

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

Clearly the tribunal see that the Church of England can determine who is a suitable candidate for ministry in a diocese, and the hospital has to take that into account when appointing a Church of England chaplain. To apply for the job the would be chaplain has to have a license to officiate..which in this case is refused.

Just like a state school in Wales could not employ me as a teacher if I was not registered with the Welsh Graduate teachers council.

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

“Churches across the diocese continue to offer a generous welcome to people from all backgrounds.”

Is this some sort of sick joke from the diocese? Utterly contemptible.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Since there might be an appeal I won’t comment on whether Jeremy did or did not suffer discrimination. But this is very much a two-edged sword for the church because it seems to me inescapable that the church has just argued that JP’s licence was withheld because Jeremy got “married” and therefore the church has recognised that Jeremy is, in fact, married in the eyes of the church. I am equally surprised that the church didn’t press harder on Article XXXII. As I read that Article, it embodies in each priest, not church hierarchy, the decision as to whom he… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

Ian Paul: Not much of a chink there.

Strangely enough, my lawyers would not agree with you. But then, they had the advantage of actually having heard the evidence.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ian and Peter, I agree that this case will cost a whole lot more money before it’s finally settled. But we knew that. This was always going to go to appeal, whichever side lost the first round. We must assume that a top legal team would not go to appeal if they didn’t have good grounds for it. Just as they went into the first round when many thought there weren’t even enough grounds for the case to be heard. It will be interesting to follow it in the coming years… because this will surely run and run for a… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Mr Paul and Mr Ould are, no doubt, well pleased that the Church’s doctrine on marriage has been upheld by the secular courts and its ability to discriminate confirmed. The rest of us continue to despair.

ExRevd
Guest
ExRevd

“Not much of a chink”

“Can’t see how [it could be overturned]”

If we don’t believe justice will prevail and powers will be overthrown we really may as well all pack up and go home.

Dark days (not least for the Established Church of England)

So sorry for those who have once again been broken against it. You’re not alone.

Robert Ellis
Guest
Robert Ellis

Please notice that in the Diocesan Press Release there is no courtesy title afforded to Canon Jeremy Pemberton who is simply referred to as Jeremy Pemberton but the bishop is referred to as Bishop Richard Inwood. In the light of a previous posting about courtesy titles this says it all.
Our thoughts are with you Jeremy and this matter continues to be a disgrace and I for one am ashamed at the moment to belong to the Church of England.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Not at all a good look for the Church of England! Has the fact of its being the State Church anything to do with the outcome, I wonder? I doubt the Church could treat its employees in that way in NZ and get away with it.

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Ian Paul – the judgment is indeed clear, but it is based on the tribunal’s interpretation of laws which are relatively untested. Having worked for lawyers in the past, my former colleagues would have relished the challenge of testing the interpretations adopted by this tribunal at a higher level on appeal. Those same colleagues would have been asking “how can an appeal be funded”. For some lawyers there is status and reputation potentially to be made on these cases – for others there are points of principle to be established. If there is not an appeal, the decision will be… Read more »

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Much better that this goes to appeal. The Employment Appeal Tribunal as a higher court can set legal precedent and explore the wider issues, crucially whether it is the intention of the Equality Act to allow an ordained minister to minister to the sick and bereaved in one parish yet be prevented from doing so in a neighbouring parish. This is the ‘principle’ the House of Bishops will be spending a small fortune to defend at appeal.

Russell
Guest
Russell

One can’t help wondering whether an Employment Tribunal is really the best vehicle to determine the Church of England’s doctrine. Don’t we have other courts for this purpose? For example: the ET judgment has a lot to say on the subject of the “Oath of Canonical Obedience” but I think this just adds confusion. For example, the principal case on the matter, Long vs Bishop of Cape Town, suggests canonical obedience refers to obeying a specific order (rather than complying with instructions in a document like the Pastoral Guidance), that an order must be clearly expressed as an order, not… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

There can be no grounds for complaining about the outcome. Legally, it was a foregone conclusion, given the Church’s exemption in the Equality Act and current doctrine. Jeremy Pemberton went ahead with a ceremony which he and all of us knew full well would lead to the withdrawal of his licence. Were I a betting man, I’d put my money on loss of his appeal as well. Doctrine is doctrine, and the law is the law, until or unless either or both change.

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

The usual sense from the Bishop of Buckingham “The Church of England seems to have spent hundreds of thousands and possibly more on top London lawyers to ensure that a gay hospital chaplain in Lincolnshire cannot practise in Nottinghamshire, that seems an awful lot of money to spend on something like that. This leaves the Church of England looking like a laughing stock. It is completely irrational: this man is doing the job in one place why on Earth can’t he do it 20 miles away.“People are going to find this extraordinary: on one side of a line through the… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Law at its worst: all process, no justice. The judgement’s as soulless as it is tedious, and the two aren’t unconnected. Throughout, the tribunal misses the forest for the trees. Nowhere does the tribunal condemn the church’s arbitrary behavior, instead obsessing about the minutiae of doctrines, schedules and clauses. Nowhere do its members act like judges. Nowhere do they see it as their job to do justice. It’s this mechanistic, heartless adherence to rules that lead to the creation of courts of equity. An appeal will, hopefully, give another tribunal the chance to take a substantive view of due process.… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

CofE homophobia may have won a battle, even as it continues (in MANY ways) to Lose The War.

{{{Jeremy P}}}

Kate
Guest
Kate

Andrew, in passing, makes an important point. Given dioceses are continually complaining about their finances, was it an appropriate use of funds to fight this case? I for one will be much less likely to put money into the collection for it to be used in this way … And I doubt I will be alone in that. Wouldn’t it have been better to just pay Jeremy some compensation? Would that not have been the way of grace? I sincerely hope there is no celebrating in Church House tonight because this fight brings no credit at all to the church.

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

Now it’s been established in court that the church has the right to not grant a new license to a minister who doesn’t follow its teaching on marriage, might it be more likely that the church could remove existing licenses too (this was always seen as legally more fraught) ?

Adrian Judd
Guest
Adrian Judd

The point Andrew makes about EATs setting legal precedent is important, so too the issue of consistency. I think it is important that there is an unambiguous legal framework for the C of E to work in. How and why doctrinal and management decisions are made is another matter.

rjb
Guest
rjb

I tend to agree with Peter and Ian that the law seems fairly clear. And those who are expressing their dismay at the law or at the tribunal are misdirecting their anger. It is wrong to expect the state to dictate doctrine to the church, and it is wrong to expect the state to rescue the church when the church is wrong. This is a matter we have to sort out for ourselves. I have an awful lot of sympathy for Jeremy P. in this case, and none at all for the former-acting-bishop of Southwell and Nottingham. But I also… Read more »

Sister Mary
Guest
Sister Mary

From the BBC report on Canadian PM’s swearing in “Trudeau’s cabinet features an equal number of women and men, with the new PM touting his team’s diversity. After the ceremony, a reporter asked Mr Trudeau why having a gender-balanced cabinet was so important. The prime minister replied, “Because it’s 2015,” and then shrugged to wild applause.” Presumably this Tribunal felt they were obliged to rule on the “regulations as they are.” Some folk need to address the fact that this is 2015, and the end of the year at that. If Bishop Inwood had started his consideration of the matter… Read more »

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

The farcical / tragic aspect is that Canon Pemberton is holding a license and officiating in another diocese.The Church of England whilst elastic in its morality ( divorce etc brought in line with society) is contrary and muddled here.

It will even create a traditionalist bishop to minister in a church within a church, who is divorced and remarried ..but there is only selective room for Canon Pemberton.

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

“Jeremy Pemberton went ahead with a ceremony which he and all of us knew full well would lead to the withdrawal of his licence.” Benedict

Only it didn’t. Jeremy still holds a full licence and remains a priest in good standing in the Church of England in Lincoln Diocese and, by extension, Canterbury Province. The licence issue is geographically specific to Southwell & Nottingham Diocese.

Susannah Clark
Guest

It is fantasy to play the ‘make believe’ game that the Church of England does not agree with gay sex. Who is the Church of England? The Church of England membership – the actual people who make up the Church of England – increasingly accept and embrace gay and lesbian sex, and a realistic 2015 set of values and decency. We are told: “Such and such is the position of the Church of England” as if there is one, polar position (and a pretty cold one at that). But that is fantasy. The truth and reality is that there is… Read more »

paul
Guest
paul

Think rjb hits the issue on the head, this case is about the chaos and widely inconsistent approach the church takes over human sexuality and so should be settled by itself, not over an employment issue. Also as someone involved in HE I would caution anyone against involving secular authorities in the rights of religious groups to act as their religious views direct, it can often start with a good intention and quickly become the most draconian of interventions. The argument is really here about whether as the first two comments state the church’s teaching is clear, or whether different… Read more »

Ian Paul
Guest

As a number above have commented, although the case might have been brought in order to test the doctrine of the C of E, that is not how the judge saw it. It was in the end a question of whether canon law is still the law of the land. The church has a position; priests are obliged to honour it; and the Church is exempt from the Equalities Act. In law, that is that, said the judge. The issue of the different licences was also surprisingly carefully explored. In order to be consistent in the holding of licences, there… Read more »

Iain McLean
Guest
Iain McLean

Thanks Ian Paul. Would appreciate an answer to my question too.

David T
Guest
David T

Could this go all the way to Strasbourg? I wonder.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“The church has a position; priests are obliged to honour it; and the Church is exempt from the Equalities Act. In law, that is that, said the judge.” And if there is an appeal we will have to wait until it has run its course to discover whether that judgement stands. That being the whole point of appeals procedures. Appeals can only be brought on points of law, not because someone doesn’t fancy the initial verdict and would like another one please. This is the first time the scope of the Equalities Act was tested in a tribunal. Like all… Read more »

Revd Jean Mayland
Guest
Revd Jean Mayland

When I became a member of Church Assembly in 1965 there was an air of hope and excitement in the church. Congregations were large and churches active. Archbishop Michael Ramsey led the campaign to stop homosexuality being regarded as a crime in law. He also supported ‘ no fault ‘ divorce which ended the need to take suitcases into a hotel to prove adultery. Now the General Synod in November will be considering a whole mass of reports which are intended to bring people back into the church which seems to be dying. Meanwhile the Bishops by seeking judgements like… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

“and the Church is exempt from the Equalities Act” – Ian Paul Actually, I don’t think that is what EA2010 says. The carve outs in the Equality Act apply to individuals not to the church as a whole. The exemptions are written very specifically as applying to a person (which could included a body corporate presumably, although I don’t know if that has been tested). The distinction seems to be important in this case. Had the case been brought against CofE as a whole then it might have succeeded on the consistency point, but it was brought against the acting… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

Iain, best of luck getting any answers out of Ian Paul. Ian was clear in his election address for GS that the approach GS took to women bishops – a both/and approach – is one that will help us with the debate about human sexuality. But ask what that both/and approach means and it’s basically that LGBT people should shup up and put up and be celibate or face discipline. And if you ask what discipline means, as I have consistently asked Ian for months, then you won’t get answer. But maybe Ian would like to actually do what he… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Laurence Cunnington, the fact remains his licence was withdrawn in Southwell and the tribunal found in favour of the Bishop on all counts. Lincoln is one Diocese you can cite in which he is able to hold a licence. How many other examples can you give please? Lincoln is hardly held up as a model diocese in respect of orthodox teaching, is it?!

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“But maybe Ian would like to actually do what he suggests here, and put in a complaint under CDM?”

Unfortunately, that will not be possible.
If I understand it correctly, you have to have be personally affected by the action you are complaining about, and you have to make your complaint within 12 months of it arising.

Jeremy Pemberton married well over a year ago.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Benedict
No licence was ever issued in Southwell. Only a PtO was withdrawn.

And another example, well known, is in London diocese.

ExRevd
Guest
ExRevd

I note Ian Paul’s vexatious and inflammatory suggestion that a qualified individual bring a CDM case against Mr Pemberton. No doubt he doesn’t feel Mr Pemberton belongs in “his” church. I’m not sure anyone does.

Keep digging, the gospel will prevail, but you won’t find it buried in a hole in the ground.

Paul
Guest
Paul

the question about CDM is valid in the sense of whether entering into a same sex marriage is allowable or not. Whilst my personal opinion is that it should not be, I find the duplicity of the episcopate on this issue to be mad and therefore have great sympathy for the case being brought, misguided as the actual direction to the bishop may prove finally to be. Either you can or cannot, and if you cannot then surely action must be taken against the licence holder when the marriage is entered into, not lets wait until they try and move… Read more »

Iain McLean
Guest
Iain McLean

Andrew Godsall – thanks. But let me keep trying none the less. My question for Ian (or Peter Ould, or Benedict) is as follows. If this judgement stands, it confirms that the C of E may discriminate against its own members in a way which would be unlawful for a secular organisation. You may say that that is a necessary implication of religious freedom. Arguendo, I accept that. Religious freedom of this sort is defensible in, say, the framework of the US Constitution, which forbids legislation either establishing a church or inhibiting the free exercise of religion. It is not… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

Erika: the problem is that the way some people blog so personally about it you’d think that they were personally affected by it. It can feel like Jeremy is subject to a trial that is more obnoxious. It goes beyond reporting and journalism.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Fyi Jeremy and Ian Paul are on the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC1 tomorrow (Friday) morning from 9.15 am. I think it will be found that many anglican ministers have married (and will marry). That is a simple and unremarkable fact to most of the parishioners / people of Britain- though a matter for great cheer and rejoicing among most folk- as are all weddings ! I am such a married priest myself, and being retired, have been left in peace. I am glad of that, as I suffered oppression at theological college many years ago, and in the early… Read more »

Paul
Guest
Paul

Iain, not sure who is arguing for bishops to be in the House of Lords, I doubt you would find any evangelical who would not take the deal you seem to offer. Also your friends did indeed win and its somewhat overboard to make the 26 bishops somehow the moral arbiters of government policy when there are 790 lords in total.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Paul, leaving aside the 12 months deadline, CDM wouldn’t work here because the “punishment” for a first offence is a rebuke and the promise not to do it again.
That is clearly not an appropriate response to someone getting married.

What would have to happen is a trial under EJM. That would deal with the question of Doctrine.
Interestingly, the CoE has studiously avoided going down that route so far.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Paul Notwithstanding this judgement and notwithstanding the attempts by the House of Bishops to declare otherwise, I am now personally persuaded that the prevailing doctrine from Article XXXII is that any Christian is free to marry anybody according to their conscience and regardless of the gender of that person. That can be changed only by modifying the Articles. I don’t accept that Article XXXII doesn’t apply to same sex unions because such unions were not in the contemplation of the drafters because I think the drafters’ intention was to reserve the decision entirely to individuals and out of the hands… Read more »