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Gay hospital chaplain loses discrimination case against Church of England

A gay clergyman who was prevented by the Church of England from taking up a job in the NHS as a hospital chaplain has lost his discrimination appeal claim.

Canon Pemberton, a Church of England priest for more than 30 years, had his permission to officiate revoked after he married his partner in 2014.  This left him unable to take up a job offer as a hospital chaplain.  The Church of England allows priests to be in gay relationships and civil partnerships as long as the relationship is celibate, but they are forbidden from marrying their partners.

An employment tribunal and an employment appeals tribunal ruled that Canon Pemberton had not suffered discrimination by the church.  The Court of Appeal upheld these earlier rulings stating that the church has applied ‘its sincerely held beliefs in a way expressly permitted by…..the Equality Act.’

Read more about the case in The Guardian here.  The BBC News’ article can be read here.