From the UK Daily Mail, worrying news about the state of free speech in the UK. (H/T Dina)
Mr Smith has worked for 18 years for Trafford Council and Trafford Housing Trust, which manages more than 9,000 homes in Sale, Greater Manchester.
But he now finds his career in tatters over a comment he wrote on his personal Facebook page one Sunday morning in response to a BBC story headlined ‘Gay church “marriages” get go-ahead’. The story referred to Government plans to lift the ban on homosexual couples holding civil partnerships in churches and other religious settings.
Mr Smith, whose Facebook profile identified him as working for the Trust as a housing manager, commented: ‘An equality too far.’
A few hours later, one of his Facebook friends, a work colleague whose identity is not known to The Mail on Sunday, posted: ‘Does this mean you don’t approve?’
The following evening after work, Mr Smith, who attends an evangelical church in Bolton, responded: ‘No, not really. I don’t understand why people who have no faith and don’t believe in Christ would want to get hitched in church.
[…]Mr Smith was disciplined after a second colleague complained to the Trust’s ‘equality and diversity lead’, Helen Malone.
A few days later, Mr Smith was summoned from his home to a meeting at the Trust’s headquarters in Sale, where he was told he was being suspended while the complaint was investigated.
He was warned that even though his Facebook page could be viewed only by registered friends, rather than by the general public, those readers included colleagues who had taken issue with his comments.
A shocked Mr Smith, who managed a team looking after local housing issues, immediately removed the reference to where he worked from the page.
The following month he was called to a disciplinary meeting before Mike Corfield, the Trust’s Assistant Director, Customers. Although Mr Smith was allowed to put his case, insiders described the meeting as ‘tense and fraught’.
According to legal documents lodged at Manchester County Court, Debbie Gorman, a ‘neighbourhood manager’ also at the meeting, said Mr Smith’s comment could cause offence.
She said she had interpreted it as saying ‘gay people are not as equal as people who are not gay’ and that the comment could be viewed as homophobic.
Mr Corfield said it was not the comment but its potential misinterpretation that was at issue, but still ruled that Mr Smith had committed a serious breach of discipline for which he could be dismissed.
But because of his loyal service, Mr Smith was instead demoted to money support adviser, handling rent collection. His pay was reduced to £21,396, phased in over a year, and he was given a final written warning.
Mr Smith has been advised he cannot speak to the press, but his solicitor Tom Ellis, of Aughton Ainsworth in Manchester, said: ‘Adrian was shocked and distressed to have been disciplined in this way. He never expected this to happen – it came completely out of the blue.
When people on the secular left talk about tolerance, equality and diversity, this is what they mean. You can’t even make a comment on your on personal Facebook page without being censored by state for thought crime.
The fact is that gay rights and religious liberty are on a legal collision course. (H/T Ruth Blog)
When the relationships of “gay people” need societal validation, some of them, at least, have made it clear that it’s not all that wrong to stop dissenters from living according to their beliefs.
“There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases, the sexual liberty should win because that’s the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner,” said sexual activist and former ACLU attorney Chai Feldblum before President Obama appointed her to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where she now has power to try to enforce that view. “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win,” she said.
Indeed, isn’t this the reason that the religious liberty exemptions in the New York marriage redefinition bill don’t include conscience exceptions for individuals or businesses? The idea is that everyone must accept the newly imposed values and live accordingly. A wedding photographer who can’t in good conscience use her artistic expression to make a same-sex ceremony look good as part of her creative work will be regarded no differently than the racist behind the lunch counter who doesn’t want to serve blacks. As Feldblum explained in The Brooklyn Law Review:
Just as we do not tolerate private racial beliefs that adversely affect African-Americans in the commercial arena, even if such beliefs are based on religious views, we should similarly not tolerate private beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identity that adversely affect LGBT people.
And if you’re a New York clerk who has a problem of conscience with issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says you need to give up your job, despite New York law that states otherwise. After all, as one Albany law professor who apparently doesn’t bat an eye about putting this on par with racism says, “There is just not a good legal argument that you have the right to discriminate.”
So if you’ve been on the fence about protecting marriage—wondering how someone else’s same-sex “marriage” will affect your marriage—now you’ve got a good bit of the answer: if you’re part of the 62 percent of Americans who believe marriage should be defined only as the union of a man and a woman, prepare to be regarded as the Ku Klux Klan member next door—and for your children to be taught the same perspective at your local government-run school. As a post titled “Can We Please Just Start Admitting That We Do Actually Want To Indoctrinate Kids?” on the Queerty website put it:
They accuse us of exploiting children and in response we say, “NOOO! We’re not gonna make kids learn about homosexuality, we swear! It’s not like we’re trying to recruit your children or anything.” But let’s face it—that’s a lie. We want educators to teach future generations of children to accept queer sexuality. In fact, our very future depends on it.
The message is frequently that recognition for same-sex unions will have no effect on those who disagree with them, but the evidence clearly says otherwise. As Princeton politics professor Robert P. George notes, “once one buys into ideology of sexual liberalism, the reality that has traditionally been denominated as ‘marriage’ loses all intelligibility . . . one will come to regard one’s allegiance to sexual liberalism as a mark of urbanity and sophistication, and will likely find oneself looking down on those ‘ignorant,’ ‘intolerant,’ ‘bigoted’ people—those hicks and rubes—who refuse to get ‘on the right side of history.’”
And let this be a lesson to all of you who don’t have aliases, and who do have your colleagues who can see your comments on sites like Facebook. Don’t be surprised when things like this happen to you.