Police chaplain dumped for opposing gay marriage

A police chaplain says he was removed from his post because he disagreed with gay marriage on his personal internet blog.

Strathclyde Police said Revd Brian Ross can hold his beliefs in private, but publicly expressing them is a breach of their equality and diversity policy.

Revd Ross, a retired Church of Scotland minister, has written to MPs explaining what happened to him.

Personal

He said: “Just before the summer, a particular senior officer in one of the divisions read my personal blog and objected to my expressed support for traditional marriage as, it was claimed, it went against the force’s equality and diversity policies.”

“I was summoned to a meeting, the end result of which has been that my services have been dispensed with.”

“This, I would emphasise, is before any legislation has been placed on the statute book.”

Public

Strathclyde Police have responded by saying Revd Ross could not express his views in public.

A spokesman said: “Whilst the force wholly respects the Rev Ross’s and, indeed any employees’ personally held political and religious beliefs, such views cannot be expressed publicly if representing the force, as it is by law an apolitical organisation with firmly embedded policies which embrace diversity and equality.”

Colin Hart, campaign director for the Coalition for Marriage, said this is just the start of things to come.

Warned

He said: “We have consistently warned that ripping up the current definition would lead to all sorts of consequences, including people getting sacked and being forced out of their jobs because of their beliefs.”

He added: “When will the Government finally admit what legal experts, MPs, even teachers, are saying, that the so-called safeguards are not worth the paper they are written on – they will be challenged in the courts and will be overturned.”

A legal opinion from leading human rights barrister Aidan O’Neill QC warned that redefining marriage could have implications for the civil liberties of public sector workers.

The opinion said that chaplains could lose their jobs for talking about their traditional views about marriage, even when they’re off duty.

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