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UK: Christian worker wins same-sex marriage Facebook case

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  1. A outbreak of common sense I’d say. Although I’m sure we’ll now have the CI and C4M placing this guy on a pedestal and crowing about the “PC Brigade” or something equally tedious and how they’re victimising poor christians.

  2. The opponents of same-sex marriage will be perversely annoyed about this, because they have lost the chance to portray themselves as the victims of state persecution.

  3. That There Other David 16 Nov 2012, 11:15am

    You know, I’m actually glad he won here. Whilst I vehemently disagree with what he wrote the idea that employers can demote or even sack you for expressing ideas outside of work is thoroughly against what this country is supposed to be about.

    If there were evidence that his faith was influencing his decisions in his job where they have no place then fair enough, get rid. But otherwise he’s free to think what he damn well pleases.

    1. I agree! It is a terrible state of affairs that you can post something on social media outside of work only for that to come back and bite you on your bum as it had done here!

    2. Forgive me but you do not know anything about this person’s work record. This may (or may not) have been the culmination of many other similar instances for all you know. It is the ‘principal’ of free-speech which is under the spotlight here. Is it really OK for someone, anyone, to hold these views on ‘equality’ in this day and age? Would it be OK for this person, through his ‘belief’ in biblical texts which, for example justify slavery, to voice an opinion against inter-racial marriage? This is ALL about equality. People should not be allowed to use religion as a screen behind which to hide discrimination and homophobia. The bible is stuffed full of others ‘sins’ which religion conveniently ignores because society has moved on and has rejected them.

      1. I get your point, but people are free to be racist if they want to be. Are you going to stop people joining the BNP or UKIP??

    3. I have to say I agree with you, TTODavid.. I’m glad too. To have this kind of action taken against a worker for private opinions, legal though personally objectionable to me, is rather frightening. Your second paragraph puts the point v. well.

  4. Although I don’t agree with his views, it was wrong to demote him.

  5. It’s amazing how many gay people agree with this decision. I can’t imagine the ‘christines’ doing the same if it had been a gay man sacked for writing anti religious comments on Farcebook!

    1. Craig Nelson 16 Nov 2012, 12:07pm

      Unless there was something else which we didn’t know about this was always going to go this way. The action was exessive and they should have settled pior to Court.

  6. Terry Stewart 16 Nov 2012, 11:49am

    Matthew Gardiner, chief executive at Trafford Housing Trust said: “We fully accept the court’s decision and I have made a full and sincere apology to Adrian. At the time we believed we were taking the appropriate action following discussions with our employment solicitors and taking into account his previous disciplinary record.

    “We had tried to come to a settlement with Mr. Smith, which would have resulted in him receiving ten times the amount he will receive, but he chose to reject this offer.”

    That sounds very unapologetic to me. Infact Mr Gardiner it sounds like very sour grapes on your part. You need to sack your Legal Advisor.

    1. The statement by CEO Gardiner suggests that, rather than be placatory, the housing trust tried to buy Mr Smith’s silence with a huge bribe, misjudging the fact that Mr Smith wanted his name cleared. The trust’s management have shown themselves up for their ill-judged and unprofessional action.

      1. de Villiers 16 Nov 2012, 12:58pm

        Or rather that they admitted their error and wanted to settle in order to avoid wasting more money and time on a hearing.

    2. “…taking into account his previous disciplinary record.”

      Hmmm. Sounds like they’ve been trying to get rid of him for years.

    3. Jock S. Trap 16 Nov 2012, 12:29pm

      “We had tried to come to a settlement with Mr. Smith, which would have resulted in him receiving ten times the amount he will receive, but he chose to reject this offer.”

      Yeah thats because he wanted to get a victory for Christianity. Yet we’re the one’s who lay traps… apparently!

      1. Craig Nelson 16 Nov 2012, 2:50pm

        It depends when they tried to settle. If they tried to settle it early on there may have been a chance he’d accept. If they tried to settle a week before the case….. in such a scenario it’s a clear message that they believe they will lose.

        Out of court settlements are usually accompanied by a non-discosure agreement. When people feel wronged they do usually want to be able to speak about what happened to them – in this case it was already in the media in any case, so he’d not be likely to accept a non-disclosure agreement.

        Anyone who takes their employer case to court will say ‘it’s not about the money’.

        Bottom line is employers shouldn’t be regulating people’s political views outside of work via facebook or other social media unless they’re extreme or criminal.

  7. There is a difference between ‘free-speech’ and using ‘religious belief’ as a licence to incite hatred. Free speech comes with a price: the responsibility of not attempting to alienate one section of society against another. Have your beliefs, however childish. But do not use them to deny others their human right to ‘equality’ under the law.

  8. This verdict was inevitable… and completely correct.

    If he, or I, want to espouse lunatic views to our chums then we should have the right to do so.

    1. Jock S. Trap 16 Nov 2012, 12:33pm

      Lets not forget that is case is mainly thanx to the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and various religious extremists who were falsely claiming that the government were trying to force churches to perform marriage equality for their own propaganda issues. Just to try to stop such consultations etc from happening. This case is a result of that force propaganda.

      1. Spanner1960 16 Nov 2012, 1:14pm

        The media was only repeating the disinformation C4M and the churches were throwing about. As it turns out the lies exploded back int their faces and hurt one of their own.

      2. Robert in S. Kensington 16 Nov 2012, 3:57pm

        Correct, Jock. Even though Maria Millers recent statement isn’t good enough for them, they still remain unconvinced. If Jesus Christ told them to back off, they wouldn’t. Homophobia is ingrained in their DNA which is what the opposition is really all about promoted and supported largely by two of the major abrahamic cults.

  9. Robert in S. Kensington 16 Nov 2012, 12:18pm

    I agree with the decision. One part of the man’s statement was interesting when he said…”“I don’t understand why people who have no faith and don’t believe in Christ would want to get hitched in church.

    He doesn’t quite understand that nobody is going to force any denomination to marry us. I know two atheists who married their partners of faith in a religious ceremony. I wonder how people like him would construe that one?

    He then says quite correctly and surprisingly to me…” If the state wants to offer civil marriage to the same sex then that is up to the state…”. Now if only all religious opponents adopted that view, equal marriage wouldn’t be an issue, but he is wrong again when he says “the state shouldn’t impose its rules on places of faith and conscience.” It isn’t and it won’t Mr. Smith if you’re aware of Maria Miller’s recent statement.

    Now if only all religious opponents would adopt the same view, then equal marriage wouldn’t even be an issue.

    1. Spanner1960 16 Nov 2012, 1:11pm

      This was the problem from the outset: The C4M and various others have been pushing around this “fact” that churches were going to be forced into accepting same-sex ceremonies when it was, and still is, patently untrue.

      This guy had picked up on this and quite innocently, from a Christian standpoint, complained about it. Whilst I am not a religionist, I too would be spitting feathers about it had I been in that situation, so for his trumped-up lefty housing association to pull the political correctness card on the man was totally unacceptable, and they deserve to be hung out to dry.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 16 Nov 2012, 4:46pm

        It seems though that C4M and it’s loudest supporters such as Widdecombe and Hart aren’t convinced. It will never be enough for them. They just don’t like us and don’t want us to have access to civil marriage. In the absence of CPs, they’d still not support equal marriage. They are, however, finding CPs a very convenient vehicle to justify denying us marriage, but if you asked any of them if they would considerhaving one if available to them, I think we all know what their response would be and a lame excuse it would be too. I often wonder how they would react to CPs replacing marriage altogethe for everyone. They’ve not learned, in fact refused to discern the difference between religious and civil marriage, that’s the problem.

  10. Jock S. Trap 16 Nov 2012, 12:25pm

    At first I wasn’t sure he should have been demoted and salary cut for an opinion.

    However… I would like to know what is meant by “an Equality too far”? simply because he clearly thinks, as a lot of religious people do, that they are superior to anyone else. This must reflect how he works so looking again, is he really the right person for the job?

    My answer would be no! He is clearly bias and believes discrimination is acceptable.

    1. Spanner1960 16 Nov 2012, 1:17pm

      No, he simply places one set of beliefs and morals above another.
      You and I may have a different set, but one cannot attack somebody for simply holding an opinion if it does not interfere with their work or other people.

    2. I don’t agree, JST – he’s not advocating that the Biblical principles he holds so dear are implemented as public policy, he quite clearly stated that he was OK with civil marriage being offered to same-sex couples by the state.

      If it can be proven he shows bias towards Christians – or indeed against gay couples – in his job with the housing trust, that would be a different matter entirely.

      1. Craig Nelson 16 Nov 2012, 1:55pm

        To that extent he was advocating in favour of same sex marriage (or at least accepting it) provided churches aren’t forced into it. Hardly worth demoting someone.

        There may of course be more to it. He may have a terrible work record and so on. But based on these comments it’s a clear overreach by the employer.

        Maybe there were gay people who worked under him who were his facebook friends…. they may have been better advised to have unfriended him if they didn’t like his views… or better still engage him in debate over it and point out where he is misinformed.

      2. Jock S. Trap 16 Nov 2012, 2:31pm

        OK, I agree Rehan but I have to ask how a case brought about by false claims by the media and Religious extremists came about WITHOUT said media groups and religious extremist not slapped down for it and publically told to correct their force claims?

        I guess my point is a Housing Trust can adopt the most vunerable in society into their homes and they need to do so without further prejudice. My concern is, when the time comes how this individual will support a Married couple who happen to be both Men or Women when this law comes into place.

        1. Jock S. Trap 16 Nov 2012, 2:37pm

          I can already see court cases coming not because of religious marriage but because of an individual opposition to even civil marriage and their failures to act with the law when the time comes.

          It’s all very well noticed that many churches will not want to perform marriage but we cannot ignore the fact that not all religions what to be excluded and wish to perform such ceremonies.

          However I’m not really talking about religious marriage and the bigot within in, I’m more concerned about the religious bigots outside in… such as in housing, within employment etc.

          At some point these bigoted attitude may be fine and acceptable to some or to many but if we are to get this law then those very bigots will have to learn to comply with the law and Not discriminate.

    3. You’re entitled to believe whatever you like. Until it stops you doing your job properly then that nobody’s business but your own.

      1. Jock S. Trap 16 Nov 2012, 2:40pm

        I agree G* but for many, their strict religious beliefs do affect their job as we are seeing already in B&B’s, Civil Partnership ceremonies etc.

        Many of these people cannot separate their day to day life without their belief’s not being a factor.

  11. de Villiers 16 Nov 2012, 12:54pm

    I said back on the comments page of the original article that it sounded as if the employer would be in a bit of trouble.

    It seemed that the misconduct would have been the posting of an opinion on a private Facebook page – which should be a fairly private matter – or the stating that churches should not be forced to perform gay marriages – which is something that government ministers state.

  12. Spanner1960 16 Nov 2012, 1:08pm

    Well, I stand here rather surprised, I was about to type up my thoughts commending the courts and stating how wrong it was for this man to be ostracised, and then expecting the bitter onslaught of disapproval from my fellow LGBT people and getting huge minus figures.

    It seems many here also support this case, and whilst I do not support the man’s opinion, I do think it is perfectly acceptable for him to say it, and totally bullying and heavy-handed of his employers to demote him.

    I would rather people call me names to my face than live in fear of not being able to say what they think.

    1. I don’t necessarily disagree with limitations on certain racist or sexist epithets, but I think the point is this man expressed what are really pretty reasonable views – that the state could provide civil same-sex marriage (he even used the M-word), but that such rulings shouldn’t apply to churches.

  13. The right outcome, much as I despise the Christian institute.

    “I don’t understand why people who have no faith and don’t believe in Christ would want to get hitched in church.

    Neither do I.

    1. Spanner1960 16 Nov 2012, 1:19pm

      The term “Gay Christian” is not an oxymoron.
      Whilst I don’t see how the two can equate with each other, it seems many people can.

      1. Yes, that’s all very well but he was talking about people who have no faith who want to marry in church for decorative or fantasy purposes, and on that score I agree with him.

        1. Dave North 16 Nov 2012, 1:54pm

          Heterosexual couples have been doing that for decades.

          1. Though of course it was implied by its context, in fairness it has to be said that there was nothing in this man’s actual statement that specified gay non-believers only. For all we know he may feel as strongly about opposite-sex couples too.

        2. Robert in S. Kensington 16 Nov 2012, 3:54pm

          Actually, I’ve known quite a number of straight couples who weren’t religious and who married in church. There’s a romantic notion about it for some people, thought I don’t think it’s ever occurred to this man. For the sake of consistency, he would have to object to that too. There was a time that the CoE was actually considering not marrying couples who weren’t regular worshippers. They should have gone through with it. Would have made opposition to equal marriage a litttle less vitriolic.

  14. his entitled to his view so long as it does NOT affect his work.

  15. Couold we please be told what the 16 Nov 2012, 6:16pm

    Could we please know what the judge said and what was the basis of his ruling? Some of us are quite intelligent and like to know these things. Could Pink News try to accommodate us?

  16. Lets see, I got married in Spain in 2006 to my husband. We had a civil ceremony. I would have never dreamed of marrying in church. First because I do not believe, second because the church has been abusing us for centuries. I don’t want the government to make churches marry gays. That is up to them no up to the government. The government needs to legislate on civil marriage not religious one. So I understand this Christian man when he does not want the church to marry gays. Another problems is if those gays that want to get married are Christians and believe that their marriage would only be valid if they get married in a church. Even so I don’t see why you would like to get married by them.

  17. Peter Tatchell 16 Nov 2012, 10:46pm

    Can we please remember that Adrian Smith OPPOSES same-sex religious marriage but SUPPORTS same-sex civil marriage. His view is the same as that of many equality and human rights campaigners. He’s not a nasty bigot. READ more here:
    http://petertatchellfoundation.org/free-speech/adrian-smith-victory-free-speech-fair-play

    1. Do human rights campaigners really agree that gays should be denied the opportunity of a religious marriage if they want one? According to the report he said this: “I don’t understand why people who have no faith and don’t believe in Christ would want to get hitched in church.”. I don’t either, but is he implying that sodomites cannot possibly be Christians, because that’s what it sounds like. I have a pretty shrewd idea what he really thinks. Still, a bit mean of them to make him a rent boy, wasn’t it?

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