Bishop Accused Of Discrimination

A Church of England Bishop will give evidence at an employment tribunal in which he is accused of unlawfully discriminating against a gay man. The Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, is alleged to have refused to give John Reaney of North Wales a position at his diocese because of his sexuality.

Bishop Priddis is fighting the claim of unlawful discrimination and claims he was acting in accordance with the teachings of the church. The tribunal in Cardiff is listed for four days.

Alison Downie, the lawyer acting for Mr Reaney, said: “My client is a committed Christian who has devoted his life to sharing his Christian faith with others. He regrets having to bring this claim, which is supported by Stonewall, but he felt he had no option. The Church discriminated against him on the grounds of his sexual orientation when the Bishop of Hereford refused to confirm his appointment to a post.

“He feels he has been denied the opportunity to contribute to the work of the Church. In our view the legal protection for gay people is robust and the Church is not entitled to claim any exemption from that protection for such a post.” Ms Downie added: “We are certain the tribunal will deal with this case fairly after hearing what the Bishop has to say in Holy Week.”

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Hereford said: “The Bishop of Hereford denies any unlawful discrimination and has acted in accordance with Church teaching in applying a standard of sexual practice that applied equally to heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and transsexual people and not on the orientation of any particular group. We expect the same sexual standards of behaviour from support ministers, or lay ministers, as we do of clergy.”