MANCHESTER, November 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A court in Manchester has ruled that when Adrian Smith wrote on Facebook that he objected to government plans to create “same-sex marriage.” he was not committing an act of “professional misconduct.” Smith, 55, a property manager in Manchester, was demoted and had his pay cut by his employers, who alleged that his comment constituted an act of “gross professional misconduct.”
Smith had commented on his Facebook page that the redefinition of marriage planned by the coalition government is “an equality too far.”
“The Bible is quite specific that marriage is for men and women,” Smith wrote. “If the State wants to offer civil marriages 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.”
The court ruled that Smith’s employer, Trafford Housing Trust, a branch of the local municipal government, had acted unlawfully in breaching the terms of its contract with Smith, and had no right to demote him. Mr. Smith made the comments on his own time and in a venue where they could not be read by the general public, the court observed. The Trust claimed, however, that he had broken the code of conduct for employees by making comments that “might offend co-workers”.
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Mr. Smith said he was “pleased” with the outcome of the year-long case. “Britain is a free country where people have freedom of speech, and I am pleased that the judge’s ruling underlines that important principle,” Smith said. “But this sad case should never have got this far. Long ago, Trafford Housing Trust should have held their hands up and admitted they made a terrible mistake.”
The case prompted lawyer and religious discrimination law expert Neil Addison to comment that “the obsession with hate crime and hate speech has created a new generation of publicly paid heresy-hunters.”