A church and a former CEO have taken legal action against a multimillion-pound charitable trust for discriminating against them on grounds of religious belief.

Stirling Free Church had made a £6,500-a-year agreement with The Robertson Trust for the use of its premises in The Barracks Conference Centre for its Sunday services. Kenneth Ferguson, the Trust’s CEO at the time and an elder of the church, declared his involvement in the church on the Trust’s register of interests and recused himself from all negotiations about the rental.

However, the Trust’s Chairwoman Shonaig Macpherson objected to the church’s use of the premises, reportedly because “they don’t believe in same-sex marriage”.

The church had its contract terminated and was ordered to leave, with the Trust claiming it had a policy of not renting for activities promoting religion. However, the church’s lawyers discovered that no such policy exists.

The Trust began disciplinary actions against Ferguson, and despite receiving glowing appraisals and growing the Trust substantially in his time there, he was dismissed, with the Trust citing vague ‘performance issues’.

The separate cases are being supported by The Christian Institute.

Kenneth Ferguson’s case was heard in the Glasgow Employment Tribunal from Monday 14 to Thursday 17 December. The hearing did not conclude and will resume on 10 May.

Stirling Free Church’s case will be heard on 19, 20 and 23 April.