Protesters confront John Sentamu over Jeremy Pemberton case

The Archbishop of York Dr John SentamuPA

Gay and Christian protesters confronted the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, at the opening of a restored Archbishop's Palace at Southwell Minister, Nottinghamshire over what they described as the "victimising, intimidating and bullying" of gay Anglican priest Canon Jeremy Pemberton.

As the Archbishop walked in the official procession to the Minster south door, human rights campaigners including Peter Tatchell, Davis Mac-Iyalla and the Rev Christina Beardsley confronted him.

Tatchell told the Archbishop: "We urge you to repent your support for anti-gay discrimination and your victimisation of Jeremy Pemberton. Discrimination is not compatible with Christian values."

Jeremy Pemberton had his permission to officiate as a priest withdrawn after marrying his partner Laurence in a civil ceremony. He was refused a licence to take up a new chaplaincy post with Sherwood NHS. This meant the job offer was withdrawn.

The decisions, in line with the Church of England's current position on the issue, were taken by the acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Richard Inwood, who is under the authority of Dr Sentamu.

The Archbishop declined to comment because of Pemberton's pending employment tribunal.

Tatchell said: "It is disgraceful homophobia to deprive a priest of his right to work because he married the man he loves. Discrimination is not a Christian value."

Protesters included local supporters of Jeremy Pemberton, members of Changing Attitude, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

Tracey Byrne, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, who also attended the protest, said: "It is an issue of justice and fairness, and of getting the best hospital chaplain for the people of Mansfield. They don't deserve this. It's not reasonable for the NHS to be told what to do, how to spend its money and who to appoint, by an organisation which continues to treat gay and lesbian people as second rate."