Stonewall Cymru celebrates tribunal victory against Bishop of Hereford

Stonewall Cymru is celebrating today's employment tribunal decision in favour of John Reaney, the gay man who has won his discrimination claim against the Bishop of Hereford. The case was supported and funded by Stonewall.

John Reaney was interviewed by a panel of eight people for the post of Youth Officer in the Diocese of Hereford last summer. However, a unanimous decision to appoint him was blocked by the Bishop of Hereford after a meeting in which Mr Reaney was humiliatingly cross-examined by the Bishop about his private life.

Mr Reaney is set to secure substantial compensation. In its judgement, the Tribunal said: 'The Respondents discriminated against the Claimant on the grounds of sexual orientation. The case will now be listed for a remedy hearing.'

John Reaney said: 'I'm delighted that the Bishop of Hereford has lost this case. It demonstrates to many lesbian and gay Christians working for God within the Church of England that they are entitled to fair and respectful treatment. I'm very grateful indeed to Stonewall for their support throughout this case. I'm also grateful to my solicitor Alison Downie of Bindman & Partners and barrister Sandyha Drew for all their work.'

Matthew Batten, Stonewall Cymru's Policy Officer, said: 'This outcome is a triumph for 21st century decency over 19th century prejudice. We're very happy for John. The tribunal has rightly made clear that the Church of England cannot discriminate against gay people with impunity. No one, not even a Bishop, is exempt from the law.'

Mr Reaney, who lives in north Wales, went to Stonewall Cymru's Cardiff office for advice and, given its importance, Stonewall supported and funded his case throughout. Stonewall argued that a heterosexual person would not have been subject to the same level of intrusive questioning as Reaney. The case was heard over four days in Cardiff in April.

'The reason that Christians can practice their faith in this country alongside Muslims, and Protestants alongside Catholics, is precisely because modern Britain respects difference,' said Matthew Batten. 'We hope this decision gives a clear signal to all employers about the importance of respecting lesbian and gay people in the workplace.'


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