Scottish Fireman Receives Apology, Compensation over Gay Pride Parade Flap

Mon Feb 2, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

By Tim Waggoner

GLASGOW, February 2nd, 2008 ( – A fireman for the Red Watch at Cowcaddens fire station in Glasgow has received an apology and compensation from the station’s fire board after he was disciplined for refusing to hand out fire safety pamphlets at a gay pride parade.

The Telegraph reports that John Mitchell received the apology and compensation from the Strathclyde Fire Board after he was issued a written warning and was forced to attend "diversity training" for his decision not to attend the Pride Scotia rally in June 2006 on moral grounds.

A gagging clause has prevented Mitchell from speaking in detail on the issue but it is known that the board admitted they had ignored Mitchell’s religious views and agreed to compensate the Roman Catholic father of four.  According to a friend of the family, Mitchell often worried that his employment with the fire department would be terminated and said his family was subjected to threatening phone calls.

The out-of-court settlement comes almost three years late and only after Mitchell received no answer in the internal review process and therefore took the board to the employment tribunal.

Nine firemen in total were disciplined in 2006 for their decision to avoid the gay parade, with one man losing approximately 5,000 pounds because he was demoted from his position as watch manager.

Some said they refused to participate on religious grounds, while others said were embarrassed to show up at the parade in uniform.  According to the Guardian, the firemen argued that they should not be forced to align with a cause and that the department was attempting to use them to attract more LGBT firefighters to give the fire station a more "gay friendly" image.

A Christian Institute spokesperson issued a statement saying, "In line with Catholic teaching, John is opposed to homosexual acts without condemning homosexuals themselves. But he has never sought to foist his views on anyone else and felt that others should have shown him that same respect."

Keep this news available to you and millions more

Your gift will spread truth, defeat lies, and save lives

Share this article