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Manchester: Christian equal marriage Facebook case begins

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  1. This is genuinely outrageous. All of the facts haven’t been published but I’d have to agree with Tatchell, disproportionate. Harms the SSM campaign actually. Now waiting for the Christian media to jump on it.

  2. I have to agree with Peter Tatchell. I don’t like what this bigot is saying, but he should certainly have the freedom to say it. I don’t want to censor everybody that speaks against LGBT people – that’s inhumane and just gives ammunition to anti-gay “activists”.

    1. I have to say I disagree. You could extend that argument by wondering if there would be a problem is he made similarly disparaging remarks about black people, for example. Homophobes and bigots are gradually being excluded from society, and I think this is a good thing.

  3. I too am in agreement with Mr. Tatchell here; that is of course as long as the facts as they are being presented by PinkNews are all accurate and properly reflect the situation.

    If, on the other hand, Mr. Smith was making his comments in his capacity as an employee for the Trafford Housing Trust (and there is no evidence of this presented here, but it is not impossible), then I would be in full support of his employer taking disciplinary action.

  4. the facist state begins …

  5. He is homophobic and was making his employer look bad and got caught out

    Now he whines

    1. Paul Essex/London 18 Oct 2012, 11:44pm

      It was on his private facebook page. He wasn’t stating his views as an employee but as an individual, in some ways it could be viewed as an invasion of privacy. I may not agree with him but as long as it doesn’t affect his job then he shouldn’t penalised at work for it.

      1. Cardinal Capone 18 Oct 2012, 11:56pm

        I think there were contractual/policy issues in force around their use of Facebook.

    2. I am not sure I would class it as homophobic. He has the right to hold whatever religious views he likes and to express them. His church is also within it’s rights to define who should be married in it. He also is not opposing equal state marriage. You (or I) may not like the fact that he has expressed a view you disagree with – but as long as he is not making actual homophobic (ie nasty anti gay rhetoric) statements then he has the right to hold and express his beliefs without hinder.

      From where I sit in Northern Ireland this man is a progressive.

  6. Cardinal Capone 18 Oct 2012, 11:09pm

    It’s a matter between him and his employer. The state doesnt come into it.

    If it was he was simply expressing an opinion that churches shouldn’t be forced to carry out gay weddings if they don’t want to, few would disagree, and the employers response doesn’t seem right. I seem to remember there were other issues about him using Facebook as an employee though. He seems to have been repeating a misconception that has been put out there by religious groups, that allowing church marriage will make it compulsory.

    However, his comments could also be read as being generally opposed to equality for gay people ( “an equality too far” implies negativity about it altogether) and he is also implying gay couples cannot be Christian, which many are. This could put him at odds with his employer’s diversity policies.

    The disciplinary action does seem too heavy without more information, but we don’t know if there were other matters taken into consideration too.

    1. Cardinal Capone 18 Oct 2012, 11:20pm

      Actually, “an equality too far” could also be read as being negative about the whole concept of equality for minorities generally, someone who thinks it “politically correct nonsense”. That may explain his employer’s concern too.

  7. The guy is clearly a bell-end. He also spouts opinions that are absurd, bigoted and reveal him to be boorish and a dolt.

    None of which is, alas, a crime.

    1. Cardinal Capone 18 Oct 2012, 11:22pm

      He hasn’t been charged with one.

    2. I don’t really agree, Sasha – he’s quite prepared to accept civil marriage for same-sex couples, which I don’t think makes him bigoted, doltish or boorish. (Personally I have to say I can’t understand why any combination of people with no faith would want to get married in a religious building either.)

      1. Because we aren’t talking about people of no faith. We are talking about gay Christians. He is claiming that gay people cannot be Christian and implying that churches that consider same sex marriage a sacrament are not true Christian churches. He seems almost more religiously intolerant than he is homophobic

  8. I imagine his employers have been looking for a way to demote him, or get rid of him for years. I hope they succeed.

  9. Cardinal Capone 18 Oct 2012, 11:26pm

    If I were an employee of the Christian Institute, stated as much on Facebook, and I posted something totally contrary to their policy, would I not expect to be demoted or sacked?

  10. That There Other David 18 Oct 2012, 11:35pm

    The Bible doesn’t make it clear that marriage is between men and women. It does however make it clear that marriage is between man, women, and as many concubines as man can afford.

    When will this religious types get it through their skulls that the “Biblical definition of marriage” is polygamy with affairs on the side? Is that really what they want?

    1. Cardinal Capone 18 Oct 2012, 11:45pm

      Be fair, that was just for the first three thousand years or so, until Romanisation.

    2. Cardinal Capone 18 Oct 2012, 11:49pm

      I just read that some Jewish communities still practise polygamy, particularly in areas where other communities do.

      1. Jewish communities practising bigamy? Where did you read that? It’s rubbish. Damn Daily Star again.

  11. Paul Essex/London 18 Oct 2012, 11:52pm

    From the information given in this article I’m inclined to agree with Peter Tatchell. HIs views may be ignorant and bigoted but the way to deal with that is to educate, rather than be penalised at work, especially if this was a private fb page. There is a fine line between standing up for diversity and being so heavy handed that the persecutor is hailed as the persecuted.

  12. casparthegood 19 Oct 2012, 12:35am

    Many contracts have a clause regarding bringing the employer into disrepute or otherwise damaging the business. How many tenants of this Housing Trust could his actions or beliefs have harmed in some way. In my book he should have been fired.

  13. because there can’t possibly be gay christians who want to get married in the eyes of their Lord … some people are amazingly ignorant.

  14. I have a general question… if someone was being racist on their Facebook private Facebook page, I wonder if there employer would go even further than demote? Would he/she be fired? And what would Peter T say?

    1. Would you want a racist employee on your books? If that employee was prosecuted and the place of employment was known, then people would ask why the employer took on the person.

      I don’t think I would want someone who was racist working for me, but then we don’t know what that person is like on face value… its only when people or employers start digging or checking up on employees……….

      The company I work for has done this in the past and sacked people who were making disparaging comments about the company/management. What else would they expect to occur?

  15. it irritates me to no end that people are falling into the trap that this case is specificly about his beliefs IT IS NOT, this was explained countless times originaly by the employers comments on the matter its just himself and the CI who insisted this was the case and thats twisting the truth, his problem was he was warned once already not to assosiate himself with his employer in private and say anything that could bring them into disrepute, this is a standard social media policy that most employers have now and as the housing trust does, whether or not this is fair is a whole other issue, the law belives it is currently, the simple lesson is if your going to say somthing that is contray to the image your employer wishes to portray, do not state your employer in the same place as those comments

  16. The man is right.. I am gay, and would like to marry, but I am no more likely to want to do so in a church as I would in a mosque. Ergo there should be no law to force religious institutions to preside over a union that does not fit into their doctrine. The man had every right to express this sensible opinion.. and should never have been punished or questioned for his comments.

    1. Tim Chapman 19 Oct 2012, 4:58pm

      No law to force religious institutions to preside over a union that does not fit into their doctrine is being proposed. Something he probably knows perfectly well. So what do you think he meant by ‘an equality too far’?

      Also, if the CofE is not going to be forced to preside over same sex marriages, which it should not be forced to do, then it should not be obliged to marry atheist opposite sex couples, which it currently is forced to do, unless it is also obliged to marry same sex couples. In other words, atheist LGBT should have the same wedding options as atheist heterosexuals and that includes the right to be married in their local CofE parish church, even if their reason for wanting to do so is as shallow as a desire for pretty photographs. Equal = Equal.

      1. Which churches are legally obliged to marry atheists?

  17. John Allman 19 Oct 2012, 1:41pm

    If Mr Smith loses his case, this will set a precedent that would prevent a worker whose homophobic employer fired him for expressing a different opinion from the employer’s, on this message board, from claiming unfair dismissal.

    Who want’s that here?

    1. Tim Chapman 19 Oct 2012, 5:20pm

      No it wouldn’t. I can say whatever I like on this site and whether my employer would approve or not is irrelevant as long as I don’t say who my employer is. That was his mistake, and that’s why he was demoted. No precedents will be set here.

  18. So were are we meant to draw the line on equality? I wasn’t aware there was one myself!!

    “The Bible is quite specific that marriage is for men and women. If the state wants to offer civil marriage 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.”

    You know something, this is the 21st century…not biblical age!!! And the bible was written by men…yes MEN!! Which is why women are treated so badly in it…But the line wasn’t drawn with regards to equal rights for women now was it? (though we still have a fight in some areas of that too)

    1. Don Harrison 22 Oct 2012, 12:28am

      Mickie,
      the Bible also says :-
      n Exodus 21:10, a man can marry an infinite amount of women without any limits to how many he can marry.
      In 2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Chronicles 3:1-9, 14:3, King David had six wives and numerous concubines.
      In 1 Kings 11:3, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
      In 2 Chronicles 11:21, King Solomon’s son Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines.
      In Deuteronomy 21:15 “If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons….”

  19. Sorry for anyone who thinks different, but I hope Mr Smith will win this case!

    From the info I have seen he did/does just has an opinion and voiced it. An opinion which, though I don’t agree, is absolutely valid and his right to have.
    I do not have the idea he is in any way actively promoting anti LGBTQI activities; he just thinks, and voiced, his idea that we, as he sees us all as not religious, should not be able to marry in church.

    I absolutely would not want to marry in church or any form of religious ceremony, but then I’m not religious at all. Some other LGBTQI people are, and I think any church that is inclusive should have the right to perform same-sex marriages in the same way they are for opposite sex marriages.

  20. This is all part of the bollocks in which the anti-gay movements are trying to use social media to get there message across. There most successful page- the christian institute – a facebook movement which preaches to a small circle, doesn’t achieve widespread attention and fails to convert any critics. Honestly, they should learn this from papers like the torygraph and the daily fail that these articles fall flat in public circulation and popularity. Yes, obviously its a desperate movement, but really God-Squad? Is this what you think will turn the tide?

  21. As an American I may not comprehend how things work in the UK, but I have to say I am completely OK with what he is accused of saying. I think any religion which doesn’t want to perform gay marriages should not be required to do so…while I think it’s absurd in general I accept people have a right to see things differently. If his fault is in identifying is employer, surely this is not a reasonable reaction. If it is such a bad thing he should be fired not demoted. And I don’t think it falls into the class of homophobia, this is a difference in religious belief expressed in what sounds like a civil manner. Well just IMHO.

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