Homosexual activist Peter Tatchell has offered to testify in defence of a Christian employee who was disciplined because of comments he made online about civil partnerships.
Adrian Smith, a housing manager with Trafford Housing Trust, was demoted and had his salary slashed by 40 per cent after he commented on Facebook that registering civil partnerships in churches was “an equality too far”.
Now Mr Tatchell, a prominent homosexual activist, has lent his support to Mr Smith and questioned why homosexuals are supporting such punishment.
Writing in the Huffington Post, an online publication, he said: “I am backing his bid for reinstatement and I’m prepared to testify in his defence. Strange but true.”
He added: “If a gay employee was treated this harshly by a Christian organisation for writing pro-gay comments on their personal facebook page, there would quite rightly be an outcry and accusations of homophobia.
“Why, then, are some lesbian and gay people supporting such a harsh penalty for Adrian Smith?”
Commenting on the case he said: “Adrian Smith made his comments in his own time on his own facebook page, which is not viewed by the general public. He expressed an opinion.
“He did not personally discriminate against anyone. There is no evidence that he has treated any of his gay housing clients adversely.
“Smith voiced his opinion in a calm, non-abusive manner. He was not threatening or intimidating.”
Mr Smith is currently taking his employer to court. He is being supported by The Christian Institute.
Trafford Housing Trust’s heavy-handed treatment of Adrian Smith has provoked a storm of controversy.
Mr Smith’s case has previously won the backing of Grant Shapps, the Government’s Housing Minister and Stewart Jackson MP.
The Trust has also been criticised by writers at The Guardian and the New Statesman.