THE Bishop of Hereford has been giving evidence in front of an employment tribunal that could have widespread repercussions for the employment of homosexuals in the Church of England.

The Rt Rev Anthony Priddis is answering accusations in Cardiff, as the Hereford Times went to press that he stopped John Reaney getting a job as a youth worker because of his sexuality.

Mr Reaney's case is hinged on the employment equality regulations passed in 2003 which aims to provide protection in the workplace for gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees.

The Bishop told the tribunal that the Church of England marks a difference between homosexual orientation and practice or activity.

The Church requirement is that a holy lifestyle should be true for all regardless of whether they are homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual, he said.

He added that this requirement holds true of any lay person in a position of leadership and authority such as a youth worker. The Church of England does not discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation but it does object to certain lifestyle choices he said.