Pemberton v Inwood: the end of the matter

This is a press release I have put out this morning as the Court of Appeal handed down judgment:

The Court of Appeal has examined the issues in my claim against Bishop Richard Inwood and has dismissed them. I am grateful for the expertise of the Court, though naturally disappointed in the judgment.

I have reached a settlement agreement with the Church of England that I will not pursue this claim any further. They, on their part, will not apply for costs against me.

I am more grateful than I can say to Sean Jones QC, Helen Trotter, The Worshipful Justin Gau, and Susanna Reynhart of Thompson Snell & Passmore. Since the end of the original tribunal hearing they have all represented me pro bono with great skill and commitment. We have worked together for three and a half years on this case, and I count myself very blessed to have had them alongside me every step of the way. I am also very grateful to Bishop Alan Wilson, my expert witness; for the support of my family; and to the countless people who have written, messaged, telephoned and spoken to me expressing their solidarity.

The Church of England has established through this process that it can continue to discriminate legally against LGBT people in relation to their employment, even where that employment is not within the boundaries of the church’s jurisdiction. This will seem to most people in the UK today an extraordinary result, and not one that will help commend the claims of Christ to the nation. An official position that regards the loves and commitments of LGBT people, including clergy, as sinful is years overdue for thorough-going revision. The need for a revolution in attitudes and practices in the Church towards this minority is still acute – we continue to wait for real change.

I hope that I shall be permitted to return to active ministry at some point. Had I committed an infraction that was dealt with under the Clergy Discipline Measure, then I might have been told I was being suspended for a definite period, with the hope and expectation of restoration after that. Because I was never dealt with under any process, I have no permission to officiate at all, and no indication of when I might hope to have that restored. Everything is in the hands of, and at the will of individual bishops.

Finally, I owe most to Laurence Cunnington. He has been rock-like and constant in his support and love in this, as in all things. We look forward to celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary soon. I cannot thank him enough for the honour he does me in being my husband.

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13 thoughts on “Pemberton v Inwood: the end of the matter

  1. So full of gentle grace and forceful truths Jeremy, we are all honoured to have you both as witnesses and shining lights in a cause that still has many battles to fight. One day, God willing, we will be able to open the doors of our churches to those whose lives we truly share, with those we love by our side. All shall be well…

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  2. A very gracious statement, and not one that I would have been able to make in the circumstances. I am gutted for you both but, in my view, four years of marriage (and much longer together) speaks for itself. It is a very sad day and a Pyrrhic victory for the C of E.

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  3. My sympathy about the court ruling, Jeremy. I’ve a priest friend in England in the same situation as you, and it’s so very wrong and worthy of ridicule. If the church won’t do the right thing for the right reason, and the civil courts will give no relief, is it possible that Church of England clergy will soon organize an ecclesiastical disobedience movement? There’s power and safety in numbers.

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  4. Jeremy, you graciousness shines very bright – a true and loving witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The end of the matter at hand, yes. But progress against discrimination, of any kind, within the Church must continue. Wishing you well, and I am sure there is more than one denomination that would be very happy to accept your ministry within their ranks.

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  5. Hugs to Jeremy and to the previous poster . I’m glad you moved to Canada . You will meet my god mother at some point , she does some amazing things for the church of Canada , advising the arch bishop etc on things legal . Your new disability envoy to the Anglican communion will be a great thing .
    Jeremy remember the stone that the builder rejects ………

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  6. I followed this with keen interest and I am terribly sorry at the outcome. I am once again terribly disappointed in the Church of England!! Jeremy, I wish you and your husband Laurence well.

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  7. Jeremy…love and blessings. May the points made above by both JB and AGM be of comfort and an inspiration as others seek to bring a just change.

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  8. Best wishes, of course, but I had to let you know of the ironic juxtaposition of an advert for Franklin Graham’s “Crusade” at the end of your blog …

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  9. While man has written those things, God has written Love in the hearts and souls of every gay person who has ever, God has written this so clearly and completely that 5000 years of horrifying persecution cannot and has not destroyed this love. It is time to respect the variety in God’s creation. Love is Love.

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  10. My Uncle was with his (male) partner for 23 years until he died. the two women who were the first same gender couple to be married in san francisco were together 50 years before that ceremony. Gay people are a statistical anomally but the love they feel is certainly as profound as any mixed gender couple. It is both cavalier and cruel to say love must be denied because of anatomy. God created gay people. I hope for a more ethical christianity. Love is still love.

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