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Last Updated: Monday, 16 April 2007, 20:23 GMT 21:23 UK
Judgement reserved at tribunal
Bishop Priddis
Bishop Priddis denied any discrimination against Mr Reaney
Judgement has been reserved for several weeks at an employment tribunal, after a Church of England bishop refused to appoint a gay man as a youth worker.

Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, 59, has admitted blocking the appointment of John Reaney, 41, from Colwyn Bay.

Mr Reaney claimed he was given the job by an interview panel of eight but said the bishop reversed their decision.

The diocese denies any sexual discrimination.

During the tribunal at Cardiff, Bishop Priddis claimed he acted in the best interests of Mr Reaney, who had just come out of a five-year homosexual relationship.

A spokeswoman for the Bishop of Hereford said: "We're sorry it's had to come to a tribunal.

"We note that the hearing has come to a reserved judgement in what is a complex case.

"We will be making a further comment once we know which way the judgement has gone." The Church of England's policy is that all homosexual staff must remain celibate.

Under employment laws passed in 2003, it is illegal to discriminate against people as a result of their sexual orientation.

But the law contains an exemption for organised religion and the tribunal is the first test case of how it applies to the Church of England.

The tribunal heard Mr Reaney had given the bishop an undertaking he would not start a new gay affair.

Mr Reaney's case was funded by the gay equality organisation Stonewall.

Gay man takes bishop to tribunal
01 Apr 07 |  Hereford/Worcs

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