Reader comments · Peter Tatchell offers to testify for demoted Christian housing manager · PinkNews

Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.


Peter Tatchell offers to testify for demoted Christian housing manager

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. Jock S. Trap 16 Dec 2011, 3:11pm

    There was me thinking this wasn’t about the ‘Gay marriage’ thing but that he broke his work rules. Kinda feel this has been hijacked by the media and blown out of all proportion. So now Peter Tatchell is jumping on the bandwagon like some kind of attention junkie.

    No, I guess to us mentioning a work place in society internet site is not a major crime but are we really getting dragging into this just in case it is about the first and not the latter?

    At the end of the day work places have their rules and they should be resepected unless of course they are totally unreasonable but seriously Mr. Tatchell, are you doing this for the right reasons?

    Ok I appreicate things you have done, appalled at some also but this just doesn’t sit right.

    1. Agree completely.
      Tatchell just had to get his name in the paper here.
      Hes done so much good that now hes trying to fight the progress of gay rights

    2. Agreed, i find a lot of what he does a bit attention hungry. But this is too far. This is indefendable.

  2. This was clearly about a breach of workplace code of conduct. We do not know what prior history of breaches of the code of conduct were, so THT (in my view) were more than correct in dealing robustly with a breach of code of conduct.

    This had nothing to do with freedom of speech. The man is entitled to his views and to express them – just not to name his employer (as they had advised him of previously) on social media without their consent.

    Peter Tatchell is a great warrior for LGBT and other human rights and I respect and support him. On this particular issue, I emphatically believe him to be wrong.

  3. Peter Tatchell is NOT the Emperor of GAY PEOPLE!
    Unless he personally knows the manager, works for the housing company is a concerned tenant or a recognised expert in Employment Law I suggest he keeps
    his nose out of the court’s/tribunals affairs.

    1. Mr. Ripley's Asscrack 16 Dec 2011, 4:13pm

      Hear hear.

    2. Absolutely, Peter Tatchell has no personal involvement in this case (that I am aware of – and I am fairly confident he would have let us know) … so offering to be a witness is wrong, his opinion is irrelevant to any form of legal recourse in deciding whether THT acted appropriately or not …

      1. Yes, I asked myself the same thing. If he has no sound evidence to offer, or does not know the defendant personally, then his involvement in this case is simply a publicity stunt for himself.

    3. Peter Tatchell is NOT the Emperor of GAY PEOPLE!

      Where has he, or anyone else, claimed that he is?

      1. The notion that if he just pops into court and says he doesn’t find the comments offensive or homophobic then that is somehow good evidence that they’re not.

        1. I am fairly certain that Peter would not be viewed as an expert witness on codes of conduct by the court/tribunal …

  4. “His only possible misdemeanour is that he made his comments on a Facebook page where it mentions that he works for Trafford Housing Trust, which is allegedly contrary to THT regulations. This is hardly a major crime. It certainly does not warrant the disproportionate punishment inflicted upon him.”

    actualy i think you’ll find employers take breaches of policies like this very seriously as doing so means anything you say no matter what it is can be seen as the view of the employer and potentialy bring it into disrepute, this is classed as gross misconduct and under most circumstances is a sackible offense, unless the rules were ambigious and they’ve followed their own process through (the employer that is) this is a pretty open and shut case, his actual expressed views are not relivant in this case at all

  5. Peter Tatchell should work full time for Stonewall since neither represent the best interests of the LGBT community

    1. Anymore i mean

    2. Misled as Peter Tatchell often is, I certainly don’t think he is as craven, self-serving, opportunistic, irrelevant and greedy as Stonewall is.

    3. Spanner1960 17 Dec 2011, 8:34am

      Well I am no fan of Peter’s, but I am certain he could do a damn sight better job than that arse-crawling sycophant Ben Summerskill.

      1. Why has this been negged? It’s true.

  6. Mr. Ripley's Asscrack 16 Dec 2011, 4:27pm

    Peter – you are making an idiot of yourself and those who support your work. This man quite clearly made a mistake by criticising gay marriage and was demoted as a result of those comments. You are not speaking on behalf of gay people or our community when you speak up for Mr Smith’s treatment. I, for one, am quite happy that a man I do not know suffered a demotion and (some) hardship as a result of misconduct that I would expect from my employer if I were to make the same error. Just like picking your battles, this is an error in judgement unless you, too, think it is an equality too far and Mr Smith is entitled to espouse anti-gay sentiment.

  7. auntie babs 16 Dec 2011, 4:52pm

    As long as Saint Peter makes it clear when he goes into the witness box that he is expressing his own view and not that of LGBT people as a whole (well certainly not mine).

  8. johnny33308 16 Dec 2011, 6:37pm

    Really, must we continuously remind people who claim a “religion” as their basis for bigotry that we live in a SECULAR society and not a theocray? Why is it those same people ‘expect’ us to believe in their religion or even their god? When working for The People as this man certainly does, he MUST be forced if necessary to treat ALL people the same way…otherwise find some other employment where you are not paid by with tax money maybe paid by those same people you deem undeserving of equality. Get it?

  9. Oh Peter, in this case, please just be quiet. You are acting as a spokesmen for the gay community who on the whole disagree with your stance on this, so it’s probably best to sit out on this one.

    1. You are acting as a spokesmen for the gay community

      Says who? And which gay community would that be, anyway?

  10. Keith Farrell 16 Dec 2011, 7:21pm

    no matter what people say this is the right thing to do, So I agree with Peter Tatchell, We want equal rights and freedom to express what we feel, yes people need to learn to be careful of what they say on facebook, I have lost friends because of my links to groups for our rights, even my spouse is not conected with my facebook profile because of fears of loosing his property to family in his home country.
    I also feel if we as gay people came out in suport of the punishment being too harsh, maybe will will get one more person on our side. let us be the better people

  11. Peter Tatchell was raised as a Christian and says that he “ditched his faith a long time ago” and is now an atheist.

    Is Tatchell trying to repent???

  12. Peter Tatchell 16 Dec 2011, 11:01pm

    It might be useful to read what I wrote in full here:
    The point is that Mr Smith said he was happy for the State to conduct same-sex civil marriages in register offices. He said he was opposed to churches being forced to conduct them. Even the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement takes this view. Mr Smith doesn’t sound very homophobic to me – certainly not homophobic enough to justify a demotion and a £14,000 cut in salary – equivalent to a fine of £14,000 a year for the foreseeable future. This strikes me as harsh and disproportionate. There is no evidence that Mr Smith is a hardcore homophobe.

    1. Its about a breach of a workplace code of conduct, Peter – not his opinions (although the Christian Institute would have us believe otherwise). This is not to do with freedom of speech and that is the lie that the Christian Institute are trying to deliberately use to manipulate the situation … and I fear you have been caught right in their trap.

      1. Jock S. Trap 17 Dec 2011, 9:14am

        Exactly Stu. I did think slightly better of Mr. Tatchell than this. It just looks desperate for attention.

    2. Jock S. Trap 17 Dec 2011, 9:10am

      Don’t think many think he is a homophobe. What most think is he breached the rules of his workplace. This argument doesn’t involve the community yet you see fit to drag us in to suit your obsession with getting media attention.

      On this you are wrong and just showing up what kind of media attention junkie you really are, I mean who are you doing this for, really? I’m going with yourself.

      Your wrong Peter.

      1. If the (LGBT) “community” is being “dragged in” (which is not Peter Tatchell’s doing, he is a tireless general human rights campaigner who tackles many many issues, not just LGBT related, receiving no personal benefit from his work whatsoever, let’s be clear on that), then I can only see it as positive in this case. Showing that our cause does not oppose people’s right to express other opinions and to disassociate ourselves from disproportionate reactions by employers to minor misdemeanours, is in itself good PR.

        1. Jock S. Trap 17 Dec 2011, 11:30am

          This isn’t about opinions Brian-E, it’s not about marriage it’s about this person breaking the rules of which his workplace set. Peter Tatchell is dragging us into an irrelevent arguement to satisfy his own obsession with media attention. Those who have followed this version of the Daily Mail story are being made complete fools of enough but then to continue with it is just ridiculous.

          Some companies see the use of there name by employees on social media sites as a serious breach, who are we to question that, who is Peter Tatchell to question a workplace rule?

          Mr Tatchell may be a campaigner of many things but is now fight personal working contracts now one of them? Utter ridiculous this is nothing more than pleasing a attention media junkie.

          1. Jock S. Trap 17 Dec 2011, 11:32am

            There is nothing positive about this case, it’s pointless and the only thing to be upped is Mr Tatchell’s personal ego.

        2. @Brian E

          Does Peter have any knowledge of the housing worker?

          Does Peter have any formal connection to THT?

          Was Peter inolved in the communications that led to the discovery of the breach of code of conduct?

          I suspect not, so this is purely a publicity stunt that does not benefit either side.

          I appreciate the wide ranging work Tatchell does in a range of human rights (as you quite rightly say). That does not mean he can not make errors of judgement, and in this case I fervently believe he is wrong and unjustified.

          Even if he was an expert in employment law and in particular codes of conduct, then he should not necessarily volunteer himself in such a public manner – but await instruction from the worker, his advisors or THT

          1. I don’t have the answers to those questions, Stu, but they are also irrelevant to the issues that I was taking up in Jock’s reaction. I also did not imply that Peter Tatchell is incapable of errors of judgment, and I made no comment on the merits or otherwise of his taking on this particular case beyond disagreeing with the specific way in which Jock dealt with it.

    3. Nameo Obum 20 Dec 2011, 2:58pm

      Is this the same obnoxious Peter Tatchell who goes about abusing Christians? How about spending his next holiday in Nigeria?

  13. Good for Peter Tatchell knowing the difference between free speech and hate speech – unlike some of the bigots on this board who seem to want to introduce harsh punishments for even questioning the idea that gay marriage is a good idea.

    1. Jock S. Trap 17 Dec 2011, 9:16am

      This isn’t about any opinion. It’s about the man breaching his contract on an entitly different issue. It’s the media that have played to think and show yourself and Mr Tatchell for the fools you really are!

    2. @Alex

      This has nothing to do with either hate speech or freedom of speech

      Its about breach of workplace code of conduct

      His comment about homosexuals is irrelevant and a red herring

  14. dave wainwright 17 Dec 2011, 2:55am

    What is that saying “Once a Catholic ” ? I so wish PT would stop encouraging these devotees of a long passed it’s sell by date death cult and let it die in pieces , so please do stop giving them publicity and encouragement Mr Tatchell and bury the ———- in the annals of the history books as a mistake that went wrong , where they belong .

    1. Jock S. Trap 17 Dec 2011, 9:16am

      Here! Here! dave!!

  15. GingerlyColors 17 Dec 2011, 6:59am

    Adrian Smith may have broken workplace rules by dissagreeing with gay marriages on Facebook but how far should your work interfere in your social activities. I once read of a woman being sacked from her job after describing it as ‘boring’ on her Facebook page.
    Gay rights are not the only emotive subject in the workplace. What about politics, football or religion? I’ve heard of one workplace in Glasgow where a sign above the workers’ entrance carrying both the Rangers and Celtic FC badges warn workers that ‘Football stopes here’. How far should we curb freedom of spech? It was free speech that got us our rights in the first place.

    1. The vast majority of workplaces have a code of conduct which includes conduct on social media.

      None of them prevent you from saying ANYTHING on social media other than mentioning your employer (with possible exceptions for people in the public eye) …

      People have a choice, comply with their employers code of conduct or work elsewhere …

      My employers code of conduct covers social media, dress, attitude, bringing the employer into disrepute, discipline etc etc – do I get to pick and choose which I comply with and which I dont … no …

      1. Jock S. Trap 17 Dec 2011, 10:20am

        Exactly… prehaps you’d like Mr. Tatchell to come and well er… do something about those codes too…. so long as the press were involved mind.

      2. Spanner1960 17 Dec 2011, 9:40pm

        One wonders what you would say if the shoe was on the other foot and a man was demoted for supporting gay people; I am pretty damn sure you would not be bleating about codes of conduct then, but expecting “natural human rights” and all that crap.

        What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

        1. Jock S. Trap 18 Dec 2011, 11:05am

          Guess it depends if you believe the Daily Mail’s version of events as you do Spanner along with Mr. Tatchell otherwise you’d know that mentioning the word ‘Gay’ supportive or not has nothing to do with this case. The media have just jumped on it for purposes I’m sure only they know.

      3. If he was promoting gay people and had breached the code of conduct, then he should be disciplined too – if that was the decision that management felt was appropriate given the circumstances …

      4. GingerlyColors 18 Dec 2011, 11:52pm

        How far should your work life interfere with your private life? Should your employer ban you from going to the pub in case you get drunk and end up saying a few things about your job to your mates that you wouldn’t dream of saying to your boss? After all the pub is the original social networking site and I will find more enjoyment out of discussing Pink News issues with you lot in the pub rather than via the keyboard.
        As for bringing your employer into disrepute I remember a fellow workmate of mine who beat his girlfriend up so badly that he ended up on the front page of the local newspaper. Normally someone is more likely to get a mention in the news if his tax disc was out of date than if he committed an act of domestic violence. Unfortunately his girlfriend pleaded with the judge not to send him to jail and he received a suspended sentence and kept his job even though the article mentioned where he worked.

        1. A number of colleagues of mine have been disciplined for brining the service into disrepute

          You might not like it, nonetheless codes of conduct are commonplace and part of the contract of employment

          I have restrictions on being able to drink alcohol outside of work. I have restrictions on my life outside of work. I have restrictions on my use of social media. None of them are draconian … social media (I choose not to identify my employer – code of conduct complied with …), I do not drink alcohol for 14 hours prior to work (code of conduct complied with), I do not engage in criminal conduct or bring my employer into disrepute (code of conduct for employer and professional body complied with) … They are not onerous conditions … Its a shame the employee at THT did not respect his employer in the same way, its an easy thing to comply with reasonable requests

          1. GingerlyColors 20 Dec 2011, 6:47am

            Thanks, Stu, I can understand the alcohol rule if you happen to be an airline pilot or a lorry driver but otherwise I think what you do in your valuable personal time is your business. It was only around the year 2000 that they made it illegal for employers to sack people for being gay.
            I strongly resent my employer or my workmates interfering in my personal time.

          2. @Gingerly

            I am a paramedic … hence the alcohol issue (partly due to driving in emergency conditions and partly so I can have a clear head to make the right decisions quickly) … but surely it should also apply all (or almost all) workplaces – it could be crucial that many other people (not just drivers, pilots etc) make quick and safe decisions …

            I think an employer have a right to expect standards in an organisation and to protect their reputation. How far they do this many be debatable .. but both sides of this debate have good arguments … I do think this is about breaching a code of conduct of which the employee was fully aware

      5. Spanner1960 19 Dec 2011, 7:53am

        The problem is that jobs are at a premium at the moment, so people will do anything to get one. if somebody offered you a half-decent paid job you would probably sign your life away in order to have it. They may see it purely as a formality, but it is the sort of thing that is liable to come back and bite you in the arse years after you may have forgotten all about it.

        1. GingerlyColors 20 Dec 2011, 6:52am

          Whether or not jobs are at a premium, employers are still expected to abide by the law and workers still enjoy statutory rights regardless of whether there is a recession or not.

  16. He added: “If a gay employee was treated this harshly by a Christian organisation for writing pro-gay comments on their personal Facebook page, there would quite rightly be an outcry and accusations of homophobia.

    I am uncomfortable with this argument.

    1. Pro gay is not anti christian
    2. Pro gay comments do not say we must discriminate against Christians
    3. If tatchell said “if the guy wrote comments saying Christians should not be treated equally” then that’s a fair comparison

    Tatchell has got this one all wrong in his head and I wish he would stfu he the left version of Elton john

    1. Spanner1960 17 Dec 2011, 9:45pm


      1. Pro-Christian is not necessarily anti-gay.
      2. Pro-Christian does not say one has to be homophobic.
      3. Tatchell is merely defending the rights for people to say what they feel. The point where we are stopped from what we personally think is the right way, no matter how wrong it might be, is the thin end of the wedge and the death of democratic free speech.

      1. Jock S. Trap 18 Dec 2011, 11:08am

        This isn’t about opinion. It’s about him breaking the rules, apparently repeatedly, by revealing who he worked for. A code of conduct breach his workplace take seriously. Who are we to interfere with that code of conduct? This has nothing to do with Freedom of anything.

        1. Spanner1960 18 Dec 2011, 4:50pm

          So if I employ you and my company’s code of conduct says you should stand on your head in a saucer of milk on Sunday mornings, you would do it, yes?

          Companies should not have the right to impose their corporate ethos on people’s way of life outside working hours.

          1. Jock S. Trap 19 Dec 2011, 8:22am

            A somewhat pathetic argument. Very weak and pointless I have to say.

            Companies have the right to insist they are not mentioned esp along side personal opinion. They have a right to make that a code of conduct. They have the right to take action if someone repeatedly breaks those rules. They are there for a reason and it’s not difficult to see why.

            My advice to Adrian Smith is he is entlted to have any opinion he likes but if you workplace doesn’t want to be named then respect that and don’t name them. Fact he did and suffered the consequences.

            What this companies did was perfectly within their right. If people cannot respect that then they should then whinge about what happens afterwards. But then you can always rely on Peter Tatchell making something out of it…. crikey he’d make somethng out of an opening of an envelope if it meant media attention.

  17. She’s OTT as per usual.

  18. Presumably, he must fancy Adrian.

  19. “Peter Tatchell said today he would be happy to testify in defence of the Christian housing manager.”

    (….and VERY happy to put his legs up afterwards.)

  20. Makes me laugh…

    Forget the gay thing, forget the christian thing, forget all of it…

    Black and White: Guy says something on a facebook page. On said facebook page is a listing for the company he works for. Company views this as a breech of of company policy, company punishes man…

    I mean that all seems fair to me, and quite frankly ‘disproportionate’ is such a stupid word in this case. The company pays him, the company offers him a job, if they want to reduce his salary to national minimum wage they they should be allowed to… Since when has anyone (especially in todays economy) had a fundamental right to a job or a high level of pay?

    The company has chosen it’s punishment and re-written his contract with full respect to the law, if he doesn’t like it he can find another job and let someone else (especially the many unemployed) take his job and see if they can do better…

    1. Absolutely, Nathan …

  21. All that many of the posts on this thread have done is to re-iterate what we already know – that the company’s rules were violated. Hardly any have addressed the issue that Peter Tatchell is getting at – which is that nevertheless the rules seem utterly draconian, arguably an intrusion into someone’s life outside work, and the punishment wildly disproportionate.

    I have to agree with Spanner:

    “One wonders what you would say if the shoe was on the other foot and a man was demoted for supporting gay people; I am pretty damn sure you would not be bleating about codes of conduct then, but expecting “natural human rights” and all that crap.”

    Whatever people’s protestations, I believe pretty much everyone on this thread would be (rightly) treating that as an outrage.

    Surely as gay people we have sufficient experience of unjust laws not to tamely jump in line with the notion that rules are always right? It is vindictive and shortsighted to treat this case in that way. Good for Peter.

    1. @Lamia

      You are missing the point …

      This is nothing to do with the employees opinons on marriage (the only connection that has with the case is that this brought to the employers attention a breach of the code of conduct – the actual marriage comment is largely irrelevant).

      A simple google search with the words “dismiss” and “facebook” bring hundreds of cases where people have been disciplined for breaching an employers code of conduct (some of these relate to inappropriate postings and some not). Of course, some of them relate to cases where the employer has been found to have acted excessively. THT did not dismiss this employee, so have mitigated the action they could have taken. None of us (including I would suspect, Peter) know whether the employee had breached the code of conduct previously and thus can not judge if this is an appropriate penalty or not. That is for an appeal to decide and Peter (as I see it) has no place in that.

      1. Dr Robin Guthrie 18 Dec 2011, 6:20pm

        And indeed, on these types of cases, the likes of the Christian Institute ( and their lawyers ) etc jump on it, whereby next day they are in the Daily Hate.

        This is really a non story.

        It is simply a case of a foolish man mistakenly, probably drunkenly associating his employer publicly with his views.

        His opinions are irrelevant.

        What matters is his contract of work.

        Its called maturity, and biting your tongue to stuff you dont like.

        DO YOUR JOB.

        1. @Dr Guthrie

          I entirely agree with you

  22. Peter Tatchell 18 Dec 2011, 1:50pm

    If a gay employee was treated this harshly by a Christian organisation for writing pro-gay comments on their personal facebook page, there would quite rightly be an outcry and accusations of homophobia. Why, then, are some lesbian and gay people supporting such a harsh penalty for Adrian Smith?

    Smith may have broken the company rules but it was a relatively minor violation. A £14,000 loss of salary is way too harsh a punishment for a posting on a personal website. I am not aware of any other company that has imposed such a harsh penalty for similar actions.
    It seems that some people posting here want to treat Smith as badly as homophobic bigots once treated us.

    1. @Peter

      Do you know what Smiths prior disciplinary record is?

      If not, how are you in a position to judge the appropriate level of penalty?

      As for pro gay comments – an intelligent person (like yourself) would be able to separate two issues there – i) the criticism of the pro gay comments which may well be perceived as homophobic and ii) the breach of the code of conduct. An employer taking action in this regard would be correct in disciplining for a breach of code of conduct, but deservedly receive condemnation for homophobia.

      A simple google search of facebook and dismiss brings many cases of disciplinary action (some involving dismissal) where breach of a social media code of conduct occurred.

      Peter, what insight into THT and their policies and Mr Smith in particular do you have that make you personally an appropriate witness?

      1. Dr Robin Guthrie 18 Dec 2011, 6:10pm

        And indeed, Matthew Parrish has just piped up with the very same.

        Makes you wonder.

        I do not believe in “sides” but Peter has this very wrong in my opinion.

    2. Dr Robin Guthrie 18 Dec 2011, 6:36pm


      You do not and have never spoken for me.

      Say the word “Queer” again and I will Vomit.

      I spent a large part of my youth with you as a bad example of what being gay was
      but know doubt that was the way they wanted to you to be painted.

      A loud mouthed troublemaker.

      Only in my older years do I appreciate all of your work and troubles and sacrifice.

      Mine. Consists of towing a company / government line in order to keep a pay cheque
      coming in.

      However please note. That no Christian web sites allow comments.

      We cannot correspond or comment or defend ourselves on these sites.

      Please explain.

      Why can severe homophobic people come onto gay we sites, but we cannot
      enter theirs.

      On this very site, for months various religious bigots ruined this forum and we had to sit and
      take all of their venom.

      Only after threatening this very paper with law suits and hate crimes did we get rid of
      hateful religious creeps.

  23. Peter Tatchell 18 Dec 2011, 2:02pm

    In reply to James:
    You make some good points. But Adrian Smith did not say he would discriminate against LGBT people, nor did he say that that law should discriminate against LGBT people. Although he made the remark “an equality too far”, this was an opinion not an act of discrimination. Moreover, Smith endorsed same-sex civil marriages in register offices (currently banned by the law). I think some people are seeing him as a homophobic monster when he is not.

    1. Dr Robin Guthrie 18 Dec 2011, 5:49pm

      I tend to agree, however the basis of his demotion / pay cut was to bring his employer into disrepute.

      In my 28 years employment as an IT analyst covering many commercial organizations and government departments it is crystal clear
      where the lines are drawn and unfortunately this chap crossed them.

      His employer is correct in their implementation of their rules and it has nothing to do with his comments perceived or actual.

    2. Please retire from public life. You’ve had a jolly good innings — and a blue plaque. What more do you want?

    3. An equality too far implies that I am less than equal. If he wants to express thiose opinions he should get a job without reaponsibility or one not dealing with the public. It serves him right and you defending him is pure foolishness

  24. Some gays and some lesbians are very nasty and intolerable individuals…That’s the pity but fact…..

    1. Do we have that on the best authority?

    2. Dave North 19 Dec 2011, 9:38am

      Some of them have put up with decades of hatred and persecution.

      It isn’t easy to shake that off.

  25. Thanks Peter for cutting through the hysteria and presenting this as it is.
    Sure, we (and you) don’t like what he said but he’s been given an indefinite excessive penalty totally out of proportion. Perhaps your stance will change his (and others, including gay people’s!) prejudice.

    1. @Paul

      It has nothing to do with what he said … thats the lie the Christian Institute are trying to feed …

  26. Peter & Michael 19 Dec 2011, 10:47am

    Hopefully. the day will soon come when people will not be judged by their sexuality, it is only the religious right wing that uses LGBT people in their rantings from the pulpit, like Hitler did in 1939 causing the internment and death of thousands of minority peoples in WW11. The sooner we have Same-Sex Marriage passed in law the better!

  27. It’s amazing how people who are in favour of free speech for themselves so often try to stop others from exercising the same rights. Being able to express your views no matter how controversial, is on eof the cornerstones of democracy – Well done Peter – you at least are consistent and true to your beliefs and stand up for them unlike so many others writing here. You are a true hero and have done so much for the gay community and other minorities but unfortunately there are too many selfish and bitter people who don’t care about this. Keep on doing what you’re doing and ignoe those bigots inside and outside the gay community!

    1. @Glen

      This has nothing to do with freedom of speech …

      Its about breach of code of conduct by disclosing an employer on a social media site – shouldnt an organisation be able to protect their reputation by stating that comments about them should not be made without their prior authorisation? How does that restrict what an employee then says on social media? It does not …

      1. Glen Hague 20 Dec 2011, 9:38am

        Of course it has something to do with free speech – we’re talking about someone being disproprtionately punished for expressing his personal views on gay marriage on his personal Facebook page. Let me ask you a question – not so long ago employees could be fired if it was discovers they were gay. If that was still possible and a company was firing someone for saying they were gay on their Facebook page, and the person also had the name of the company they worked for there, would you be supporting the company’s right to do this?

        1. Jock S. Trap 20 Dec 2011, 9:52am

          This isn’t about his opinion Glen, this is about him repeatedly breaking the code of conduct within his workplace by naming them on social media sites. Stop believing everything you read in the Daily Mail. Prehaps you and Mr Tatchell would like to stop making something out of nothing.

        2. Glen

          He is not being punished for his opinions – he is being punished for breaching his employers code of conduct by identifying them on social media without consent …

          If they fired a person for being gay (full stop) then I would support the employee …

          However, regardless of the reason that led them to discover it; if an employee had revealed their employer on social media without consent then disciplining them (not necessarily sacking – THT did not sack) may well be appropriate – but of course, you would have to take into account the prior conduct of the employee. A factor we are unaware of with Mr Smith. He may have had multiple warnings about breach of various codes of conduct.

          Even if an employee were disciplined for breach of code of conduct (if that individual breach, regardless of other previous breaches) was minor and there was evidence that showed action was due to the orientation of the employee then there may be a case of constructive dismissal in any event.

  28. Good on you Peter!

    I am not surprised but I am disappointed you are receiving criticism in this forum.

    It is also not smart as it will likely backfire.

    Also, while on the merits or otherwise of Mr Smith’s case, I can’t help feeling the Tesco director who vilified Christians opposed to gay marriage did a lot more in bringing his company’s name into disrepute.

    The double standards, evidenced by no action being taken in that case, now being seen in our society stinks!

    1. @JohnB

      Alas, you miss the point …

      Indeed in terms of Mr Smith this has nothing to do with freedom of speech, despite the misleading comments of the Christian Institute

      In terms of the Tesco director – he like the majority of people in the UK support equal marriage (including many Christians) and far from bringing Tesco’s name into disrepute exposes the blinkered view of those Christians who oppose equality and fairness. Tesco deserve congratulating on their stance on this matter.

      1. Jock S. Trap 19 Dec 2011, 3:23pm

        Here, Here Stu.

        Always funny how these people twist things to suit themselves… bit like a few Bible believers.

      2. I don’t think I am missing the point.

        Gay folks may feel affronted when reading the private comments of the housing manager although I don’t see why – it is a free country and the employers have yet to demonstrate how he has broken the company’s code of conduct.

        I feel affronted when the Tesco director calls me evil because I believe marriage should only be between members of the opposite sex and say so respecfully.

        So are you then saying it is ok to insult Christians but not ok to insult (even when without intent) gay folk?

        1. Jock S. Trap 20 Dec 2011, 9:53am

          No, no you not only missed the point but pretty much the plot too, me thinks!

          1. “I feel affronted when the Tesco director calls me evil because I believe marriage should only be between members of the opposite sex and say so respectfully.”

            Well, if the shoe fits…. personally I’d say small minded and backward, not necessarily “evil”. That’s just you putting your superstitions hocum terms on something that’s just a simple case of ignorance.

        2. @JohnB

          You are correct the employer do have to demonstrate the breach of code of conduct … but not to the media, not to the public, not to Peter Tatchell, not to the Christian Institute … they only have to prove it internally, to the employee and to any legal forum where the decision of the employer may be contested …

          The employer furthermore are restricted in the information they can give publically, due to data protection laws and duty of protect Mr Smiths and other employees privacy …

          The employer have stated that this is about the code of conduct, the employee and the Christian Institute state the believe otherwise (yet the Christian Institute are unwilling to take on challenge about this (including from you John) – yet you still appear to blindly believe them).

          I feel affronted by many of the comments of Christians such as Gaystapo …

          Insulting people as a right is not the sort of society I want to live in. Yet the Christian Institute maliciously seem to want it.

          1. … the Christian Institute seem to be campaigning to remove the word insulting from some of our public order law – because they are unable to have freedom of speech to insult LGBT people and others …

          2. Stu: I think it is unfair to say that CI maliciously engage in insulting gay folk. I am happy to look at your evidence for this. As for a lack of transparency and willingness to engage with diverse views, I accept that seems to be the case and regret it. I still am of the view that they act with integrity until shown opposite.

            I agree insulting people who we disagree with is not good for society. I still think Mr Smith did not do this and the Tsco director did although looking further there seems some fishy aspects to the story, including it happening 3 years ago.

            I agree too we are in a difficult position not being part to all the facts, but I have read the statements of the housing association and see nothing that suggests a breach in the code of conduct and if there were the action is disproportionate as I am pretty sure worse happens that goes unpunished.

          3. @John

            I will get back to you about the CI and their apparent deliberate and malicious campaigns against LGBT people. I don’t have the material to hand where I am at the moment.

            Other people may have not been disciplined for worse things in other organisations – this should not be a factor in THT deciding how to engage their discipline process. We do not know Mr Smiths prior conduct – it may be he was on a verbal warning already or even a written warning (in which case demotion is a lenient approach).

            How can the CI acting “fishy” in raising an event from 3 years prior be anything other than malicious – until I see evidence to the contrary, I will continue to presume they behave maliciously (as I have seen on other occasions).

          4. Thanks Stu.

            I do look forward to seeing your evidence.

            As for raising an issue that took place a long time ago, I need to understand why. Usually I take the view that things that took place in the distant past should remain there but it seems there are a lot of other factors in the Tesco conduct that might cause concern. I really would like to be able to quiz CI on this and feel a bit foolish appearing to defend them when important questions go unanswered.

            Re. THT actions, I can see your point that some questions as Mr Smiths past conduct and disciplinary record are not in the public domain. It is in all our interests this comes out soon.

            From where I sit, THT actions taken seem unfair to Mr Smith just as Tesco’s inactions seems unfair given a senior figure has told me, a reluctant Tesco customer, that I am evil.

          5. @John

            I will get back to you within the next few days with my info re the CI.

            Your perception is that Mr Smith has been unfairly treated … I feel we do not have enough information on which to form that decision and it is presumptious to condemn an organisation such as THT (as the CI and Peter Tatchell have been doing) without having the full facts. I prefer to rely on evidence for my decisions, not eminence – so do not bow to Peter Tatchell (or the CI).

            I fail to see how an incident 3 years ago is a matter that the CI feel deserves boycotting an organisation for today.

            This does not justify you being insulted, but many many times I have been told by many Christians (and the CI) that I am evil. It seems its a form of freedom of speech when a Christian condemns a LGBT person as evil, whereas when Christian experiences the same – its an horrific insult. Double standards (I dont mean specifically from you) from some in Christian circles.

          6. thanks Stu. these are areas we have to disagree as I we both feel strongly. The challenge for both of us is to try to see the other view. I am sad that you feel you have been insulted by Christians. I expect to be insulted because of the views I hold and neither is right – I suppose the easy option is to go with the flow but I think for both of us this is not a course we are prepared to take. Happy to look at CI evidence but won’t be able to pick this up before I return to the UK on 31/12.

    2. Jock S. Trap 19 Dec 2011, 3:21pm


      Like Peter Tatchell you really shouldn’t believe everything you read Daily Mail or do people like you just enjoys making and seeing thinking in nothing?

  29. Tatchell is talking nonsense. This is about the man in question bringing his employer into disrepute. I frequently receive e-mails at work warning me that that comments I make on social media under my own name, even if I don’t say who my employers are could amount to misconduct. And we were warned of this by our union when we went on strike recently as well. It’s accepted under UK employment law that this is a fair reason for dismissal/disciplinary action. And we don’t know the history of the case – had he been warned prior to this incident?

    The fact is that this man is in a senior management position, yet he displayed, in my opinion, outstandingly poor judgement by saying who his employers were on a social networking site and then expressing his personal opinions. Anyone with any sense should know that’s NOT a good idea.

    1. And PS I most certainly would expect to be subject to disciplinary action if I posted comments of the type the Tesco employee did. Tesco simply asked him to take them down, we don’t know why, but they would have been justified in taking stronger action. If Peter Tatchell wants to argue UK employment law is too draconian, that’s another matter, but that IS the law.

These comments are un-moderated and do not necessarily represent the views of PinkNews. If you believe that a comment is inappropriate or libellous, please contact us.