Demoted Housing Manager in Court Over Gay Marriage comments. Who’s Next?

Colin Hart – Coalition for Marriage Oct 18, 2012

Today a housing manager, Adrian Smith, is in court trying to recover his lost earnings because his employer demoted him and slashed his salary by 40 per cent …all because he said on Facebook that gay weddings in churches would be “an equality too far”.

Mr Smith made his comment on his personal Facebook page, outside of work time. His page was not visible to the general public. Only his chosen friends, and their friends, could see it. That included some of his work colleagues.

His bosses at Trafford Housing Trust in Manchester charged him with gross misconduct. The only reason he didn’t get fired was that he had been such a good employee over many years.

The press later found out that Trafford Housing Trust took action against Mr Smith because it was, in part, worried that it might lose a gay rights charter award if it didn’t take a tough line.

He has spent a great deal of time trying to reason with his bosses, but he has exhausted the internal appeals procedure and they have refused to see sense. Now a County Court judge will have to decide whether the Trust acted unlawfully.

Even Peter Tatchell, one of the chief activists pushing for marriage to be redefined, says Mr Smith has been harshly treated and should be reinstated.

Mr Smith’s case is the kind of injustice that I believe will happen more often if the Government goes ahead and redefines marriage. Supporters of traditional marriage will be punished in the workplace, particularly in the public sector. It’s wrong for someone’s career to be damaged just because they voice support for traditional marriage.

The serious implications for civil liberty don’t end there. The widespread impact has been outlined in a legal opinion, written by a top human rights lawyer Aidan O’Neill QC. You can download and read a one-page summary of it here.

All of this shows that the Government’s plans to rewrite marriage are divisive, illiberal, far-reaching and should be dropped.