Skip to content

Demoted Christian in court over same-sex 'marriage' comments

Printer-friendly version

Manchester County Court will today hear the case of a housing manager who was demoted after commenting on Facebook that permitting same-sex ‘marriages’ to take place in churches was “an equality too far”.

Adrian Smith, an employee of tax-payer funded Trafford Housing Trust, was demoted from his managerial post and faced a pay cut of 40 per cent after making the comments on his private Facebook page outside of working hours.

Complaint

A complaint was raised with the Trust's head of equality and diversity, Helen Malone, after one colleague asked Mr Smith to explain the comments, to which he responded:

“I don’t understand why people who have no faith and don’t believe in Christ would want to get hitched in church. The Bible is quite specific that marriage is for men and women. 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”.

Mr Smith was subsequently found guilty of gross misconduct, was given a written warning stating that any further offences would end in his dismissal and that he had only kept his job because of his long standing service of 18 years at the Trust.

The remarks were only visible to Mr Smith’s chosen friends and work colleagues and could not be viewed by the general public. 

It was later revealed that the Trust had feared, in part, that it would lose a homosexual rights charter award if it failed to take concrete action against the comments.

Criticism

The Trust has been criticised for its treatment of Mr Smith by homosexual rights activist Peter Tatchell who said: “I’m prepared to testify in his [Mr Smith's] defence. Strange but true”.

“Adrian Smith made his comments in his own time on his own Facebook page, which is not viewed by the general public. He expressed an opinion.

“He did not personally discriminate against anyone. There is no evidence that he has treated any of his gay housing clients adversely.

“Smith voiced his opinion in a calm, non-abusive manner. He was not threatening or intimidating”.

Legal action

Supported by the Christian Institute, Mr Smith decided to take legal action against his employers on the basis that demoting him was an infringement of his right to freedom of speech and belief.

In a two day hearing, which starts today (18 October), Manchester County court will decide whether the Trust had acted unlawfully.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:

"This is a sign of things to come if marriage is redefined in our nation. The fact that freedom of thought and belief are already being restricted in this way should be a wake-up call. 

"It does not bode well for Christians, or indeed anyone, who believes that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. 

"But the Government still does not seem to realise what far-reaching effects its planned redefinition of marriage will have on civil liberties".

Related stories

Daily Mail

Daily Telegraph

More stories on this issue

Christian Concern: Religious Freedom

Christian Concern: Sexual Orientation

Twitter

  • . Live: Home Affairs Committee debate. Subject: Harassment and intimidation near abortion clinics. Wi… https://t.co/N5pmYVvZSh 2 hours 2 min ago
  • Parents 'steered towards' 37 week abortion. A couple have claimed that they were 'steered towards' abortion by the… https://t.co/i9yIQlQFfm 8 hours 9 min ago
  • Tim Dieppe attended a hearing of The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights last week in which a case… https://t.co/qMq5wvTa0K 20 hours 41 min ago
  • BREAKING NEWS: Maths teacher takes school to court in ‘transgender’ row: Joshua Sutcliffe, a maths teacher who was… https://t.co/irFdWoT9aF 1 day 2 hours ago
  • BREAKING NEWS: Christian street preacher cleared of hate speech conviction. A Christian street preacher has had his… https://t.co/p0idJG5nHZ 4 days 3 hours ago

Subscribe to our emails