Is it 'homophobic' to oppose gay weddings in churches?
For this, Mr Smith was judged to be 'homophobic', despite it being the stated position of the Government. For His Grace, he is perfectly content for gay unions to take place in religious buildings, and has said so. If Imran and Sadiq wish to get married in their local mosque, it really ought to be no business of the state to prevent them: 'religion' is not established. This must mean that His Grace is not 'homophobic'. Hallelujah.
Mr Smith made his comment on his personal Facebook page, outside of work time. His page was not visible to the general public. Only his chosen friends, and their friends, could see it. That included some of his work colleagues.
His bosses at Trafford Housing Trust in Manchester charged him with gross misconduct. The only reason he didn’t get fired was that he had been such a good employee over many years.
The press later found out that Trafford Housing Trust took action against Mr Smith because it was, in part, worried that it might lose a gay rights charter award if it didn’t take a tough line.
He has spent a great deal of time trying to reason with his bosses, but he has exhausted the internal appeals procedure and they have refused to see sense. Now a County Court judge will have to decide whether the Trust acted unlawfully.
Even Peter Tatchell, one of the chief activists pushing for marriage to be redefined, says Mr Smith has been harshly treated and should be reinstated.
Mr Smith’s case is precisely the kind of injustice which will become increasingly frequent should the Government goes ahead and redefine marriage - the Attorney General has made this very clear. Supporters of traditional marriage will be punished in the workplace, particularly in the public sector. It’s wrong for someone’s career to be damaged just because they voice support for traditional marriage.
And the serious implications for civil liberty don’t end there. The widespread impact has been outlined in a legal opinion, written by a top human rights lawyer Aidan O’Neill QC. You can download and read a one-page summary of it here.
All of this shows that the Government’s plans to rewrite marriage are divisive, illiberal, far-reaching and should be dropped. Even gay Conservative MPs 'marvel at why (they're) bringing this forward'.