NHS withdraws job offer from married gay chaplain after Church of England punishment

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The NHS has withdrawn a job offer it made to a gay hospital chaplain, after he was punished by the Church of England for marrying.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton, 58, was the first member of the clergy to enter into a same-sex marriage in April, when he wed his partner Laurence Cunnington, in defiance of the Church’s ban.

He later had his permission to officiate revoked by the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, meaning he was unable to take up a new job with the NHS in Nottinghamshire.

Today, he told BBC Radio Nottinghamshire that the job offer was revoked on Friday, and that he was “very, very disappointed” with the outcome.

He said: “I’ve now been treated, I think, in an unfair and rather harsh way in Southwell and Nottingham, whereas [I can] carry on doing the job I have been doing in Lincolnshire where I have a licence.

“I’ve been treated in an inconsistent way, and the House of Bishops can’t agree amongst themselves what ought to be the processes that somebody who enters a same-sex marriage should go through.

“I think the problem now is that it appears that I’m stuck in the job I’m doing, and if I try to move I could be blocked.

“There are, to be honest, quite a lot of gay and lesbian Church of England chaplains working in the health service.

“Now we don’t know, if any of them try to move, will the same thing happen to them, and should it?”

He warned the church: “I’m not going to bow out gracefully and take a low profile. I think this needs to be tested [legally] and I think in due course it probably will be somewhere.”

Members of the Church of England clergy remain banned from entering into same-sex marriages.

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