A commentator at a national newspaper has accused a housing association of “bullying retribution” after it disciplined an employee over comments he made about civil partnerships.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph Graeme Archer also criticised the “unintended” consequences wreaked by the nation’s overarching equality laws.
Adrian Smith, a Christian, was demoted and given a 40 per cent pay cut for using his personal Facebook page to post the comment “an equality too far” in relation to an article on the registration of civil partnerships in churches.
Mr Smith also said on Facebook: “I don’t understand why people who have no faith and don’t believe in Christ would want to get hitched in church.
“The Bible is quite specific that marriage is for men and women. If the state wants to offer civil marriage 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”.
Commenting on the case Graeme Archer said: “I don’t happen to agree with Mr Smith, but our theoretical disagreement pales into insignificance compared to the bullying retribution enacted on him by his employer, for the audacity of expressing a perfectly reasonable view.”
He added: “We don’t need laws to govern our behaviour towards our neighbours, other than basic ones to do with pathological discrimination of the sort we would all recognise anyway. We need a reassertion of the values we want to live by.
“The equality laws were well-intended, but had the unintended consequence of pushing us into submitting to an odd view of the world – that since we are all of equal worth, then so too must all our values be accorded equal respect in the public sphere (except, curiously, if one is a practising Christian).”
He continued: “All my disquiet would count for nothing, of course, nothing at all, if some good could be shown to have come from the obsession of forcing these legislative diversity rules onto us. Can it?”
Last week homosexual activist Peter Tatchell said that Trafford Housing Trust was being “excessive and disproportionate”.
The case was also raised in Parliament by Stewart Jackson MP who said the Trust’s public funding should be reviewed. The case has been referred to the Minister for Housing, Grant Shapps.
The Trust has also been criticised by writers at The Guardian and the New Statesman.