The End of the Pemberton appeal saga

Mar 29, 2018 by

by Ian Paul, Psephizo:

Jeremy Pemberton was married to Carrie and they had five children. They were then divorced and Jeremy later entered into a relationship with another man, Laurence Cunnington. When the Equality Act (Same Sex Marriage) came into law in 2013, Jeremy and Laurence married, even though the Church of England had explicitly stated that this was not an acceptable course of action for those who are ordained. Jeremy resided in Southwell and Nottingham Diocese, where he had Permission to Officiate (PTO) but worked as a hospital chaplain in the Diocese of Lincoln, where he had a licence from the bishop (which is a legally more secure arrangement than PTO). The Bishop of Lincoln, Christopher Lowson, issued a formal rebuke, and the acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Richard Inwood, removed Jeremy’s PTO—which is easily done, since (unlike a licence) the PTO is in the gift of the bishop and needs no legal process for its removal. Jeremy then applied and was interviewed for a post as hospital chaplain within Southwell and Nottingham Diocese, for which (as he well knew) he would need a licence from the bishop who had just removed his PTO. Such a licence was not forthcoming, so he could not take up the job. Jeremy took the bishop to an Employment Tribunal (ET), who found for the bishop; Jeremy then appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) whose ruling (unlike the ET) establishes a case in law, and which also found for the bishop; Jeremy then took the case to the Court of Appeal, whose ruling was issue last week. Jeremy has since resigned his licence.

(I reported on the start of the case, the process of the tribunal, the reasons for it and the possible outcomes, the unlikelihood of Pemberton winning, the very secure outcome of the tribunal, my debate with Jeremy on BBC2 about the case, Jeremy’s appeal to the EAT, and the very secure rejection of his appeal there. At the end of the last post, I commented that this really ought to be the end of the matter; I am glad to report that it now is.)

You can read the judgement from the Court of Appeal online here. There are several obviously striking things about it, but there are also some other issues worth noting which will continue to be of importance.

Read here


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