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Demoted Christian denied human rights in same-sex ‘marriage’ case

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A Judge has ruled that a Christian who was demoted for posting private comments on his Facebook page criticising the introduction of “gay marriage” in churches cannot rely on his human rights to defend himself.

Adrian Smith was taking legal action against his employers on the basis that demoting him was an infringement of his right to freedom of speech and belief.

Yet District Judge Charles Khan at Manchester County Court ruled this week that Mr Smith could not use human rights legislation as the basis for his case, as he found that his employer, the Trafford Housing Trust, which is both simultaneously a public and a private body, was a private body in respect to its employment practices.

Public bodies are bound by the Human Rights Act in all of their activities, including their employment practices, yet private bodies are not. His case will now proceed on the grounds of breach of contract.

Adrian Smith

Mr Smith had posted a comment on his private Facebook page, out of working hours, suggesting that the introduction of “gay marriage” was “an equality too far.”

“If the state wants to offer civil marriages to the same sex then that is up to the state; but the state shouldn’t impose its rules on places of faith and conscience,” he said.

The comment could only be seen by Mr Smith’s friends, yet a colleague reported him to their employer. He was found guilty of gross misconduct and faced a demotion and a pay cut from £35,000 to £21,396 per year.

He was also given a written warning which stated that any further offence would end in him being sacked and that he only kept his job because of his long standing service of some 18 years at the Trust.

Comment

A spokesman for the Christian Institute, which is supporting Mr Smith, said:

“This ruling, while not fatal to Mr Smith’s case, is deeply concerning. It reinforces the widely-held perception that Christians are not afforded the same human rights as others.

“If the shoe were on the other foot, if an employee had been disciplined for advocating gay marriage, it is inconceivable that human rights arguments wouldn’t apply.”

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, commented:

“Adrian Smith has been demoted and has received a big pay cut just for expressing a privately held opinion outside of work, an opinion that merely supports the current legal definition of marriage.”

“This ruling highlights the continuing reluctance of the judiciary to recognise and uphold the rights of Christians to express their beliefs freely. It also confirms the suspicions of many that the introduction of same-sex ‘marriage’ will deeply damage freedom of speech and freedom of belief in this nation.”

Sources

The Christian Institute

Christian Today

Resources

Christian Concern: Christian demoted for expressing views on marriage

Christian Concern: Religious Freedom

Christian Concern: Sexual Orientation

 

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