Gay wedding canon Jeremy Pemberton blocked from NHS job

Laurence Cunnington and Jeremy Pemberton Image copyright Quentin Rayner
Image caption Laurence Cunnington and Jeremy Pemberton married in a civil ceremony

The first gay British clergyman to marry a same-sex partner has been blocked from taking up a promotion within the NHS.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton was prevented from officiating as a priest in Nottinghamshire after he married his long-term partner in April.

He still works as a chaplain for an NHS trust in Lincolnshire.

But a bishop said he was "unable" to issue a licence for Mr Pemberton to work for the NHS in Nottinghamshire.

Mr Pemberton's husband described it as "homophobic bullying" and urged supporters to write to the acting Bishop for Southwell and Nottingham, in the hope it will change his decision.

'I am appalled'

In a statement, Laurence Cunnington said: "I realise that, as Jeremy's husband, I am far from impartial but those of you who know him well will recognise my description of him as a fine man of integrity and exceptional abilities and whose ministry in this diocese would be a tremendous asset to those he serves.

"I am appalled, to put it mildly, that he is to be denied this opportunity solely because of his marital status."

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Jeremy Pemberton describes himself as activist for LGBT equality in the Church

The decision was made by the same acting bishop, the Rt Revd Richard Inwood, who revoked Mr Pemberton's permission to officiate as a priest in June.

He said: "In light of the pastoral guidance and for reasons of consistency, I am unable to issue a licence to Jeremy Pemberton for the post of chaplaincy and bereavement manager, in the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust."

He said marrying someone of the same sex was "clearly at variance with the teaching of the Church of England", according to pastoral guidance from the House of Bishops.

Image copyright Quentin Rayner
Image caption Laurence Cunnington said his husband was "a fine man of integrity"

NHS chaplains are funded by the NHS rather than the Church of England, but a chaplain needs a licence from the relevant diocese.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said in a statement: "We received a letter from the bishop on Monday 7 July and we are currently considering our response."

Gay marriage became legal in the UK in March but the Church of England has not accepted the change.

However, Mr Cunnington said the acting Dean of Southwell Minster, Nigel Coates, had been "extremely supportive" of his husband's situation and asked people to contact him to express their support.

Other supporters have said they plan to protest at Southwell Minster on 7 October, when the Archbishop of York and the Acting Bishop for Southwell and Nottingham will attend the reopening of the Archbishop's Palace and Great Hall.

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