Gay priest plans legal action against Church

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A gay Southwell priest who was prevented from taking up a new role at Kings Mill Hospital because he is in a same-sex marriage is taking legal action against the Church.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton was refused a licence to work as head chaplain at the Sutton hospital by the acting bishop of Southwell and Nottingham.

The Rt Rev Richard Inwood claimed that the marriage was against the teachings of the Church of England.

Canon Pemberton, who married his long-term partner earlier this year, is taking both the acting bishop and the Archbishop of York to an employment tribunal.

Canon Pemberton said: “I feel I have been left with little choice, having found myself being punished and discriminated against simply for exercising my right to marry.”

The 58-year-old had planned to start a new role as head of chaplaincy and bereavement services at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - which runs King’s Mill, Mansfield Community Hospital and Ashfield Health Village.

But after the marriage Canon Pemberton, who currently works as a hospital chaplain in Lincoln, was barred from presiding over services in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham.

Last month Sherwood Forest Hospitals formally withdrew its offer of employment.

Speaking at the time, Karen Fisher, executive director of human resources at the trust, said: “Jeremy Pemberton’s offer of employment was subject to an approved licence from the Church of England and authorisation from the interim Bishop of Nottingham and Southwell.

“This licence was not granted and regrettably the trust has withdrawn the offer of employment. We wish Jeremy all the very best for the future.”