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First clergyman who flouted the Church of England’s gay marriage ban is fired by his bishop

Canon Jeremy Pemberton married Laurence Cunnington to have rights to operate as a priest revoked
He will no longer be able to conduct services in the diocese
He remains employed by the NHS as a hospital chaplain

June 21, 2014

The first clergyman to enter into a gay marriage in defiance of the Church of England has been ‘sacked’ by his bishop.

Sources said Canon Jeremy Pemberton, who married Laurence Cunnington in April, is to have his rights to operate as a priest revoked.

He will no longer be able to conduct services in the diocese, though he remains employed by the NHS as a hospital chaplain.

The decision by the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham Richard Inwood to remove the Canon’s ‘Permission to Officiate’ will also make it very difficult for him to function as a priest anywhere else in the Church of England.

Pro-gay liberals say the development is ‘disappointing’.

In another test of Church authority, well-known north London vicar Rev Andrew Cain yesterday became the second cleric to enter a banned same-sex union when he married his long-term boyfriend Stephen Foreshew.

He has sent out invitations for a post-wedding party next month, which will include ‘tea, with champagne, bells and the Gay Men’s Chorus for entertainment’.

Neither Canon Pemberton would not comment and the Diocese of Southwell said it was a private matter.

Simon Sarmiento, the spokesman for the liberal campaign group Inclusive Church, said: ‘If the bishops continue to take disciplinary action against clergy getting married they must expect a backlash.’

Both Canon Pemberton and Rev Mr Cain are taking advantage of David Cameron’s controversial new law that came into force in March, giving gay couples the same rights to civil marriages as heterosexuals.

But the House of Bishops’ guidelines released in February said that clergy should not enter into such unions because they undermined the traditional Church teaching that marriage is reserved for a man and a woman.


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