Melon Farmers Unrated

Religious Incompetents

Unable to do the job for religious reasons

21st December

Update: A Snapshot of Discrimination...

Photographer successfully sued for refusing gay wedding job

A state court in New Mexico has upheld a ruling against Jon and Elaine Huguenin. As owners of Elane Photography, they declined to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony in 2006 and were sued.

The court ruled the owners had violated a non-discrimination law.

Jordan Lorence, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), said it exposes the threat such laws pose to religious liberty: The court showed very little respect for that and said that this was no different than a caterer serving food and was liable to this same-sex couple.

Lorence points out New Mexico hasn't legalized same-sex unions. So, these couples are going through these ceremonies that have no legal significance to them. They're using these non-discrimination laws like 'blasphemy' laws, and they're going on witch hunts to root out the heretics and punish them.

ADF plans to appeal.


18th December

Update: Registered as Discriminatory...

Gay marriage refusenik registrar loses case

Secular and libertarian groups have welcomed the Court of Appeal ruling that a council did not discriminate against a Christian registrar who refused to perform civil partnerships.

Lillian Ladele claimed that she could not officiate the ceremonies for gay couples because of her strict Christian beliefs.

She argued that Islington council's disciplinary action was discriminatory but the Court of Appeal ruled against her in the latest round of the case.

Gay organisation Stonewall said it was pleased the court had upheld the right of lesbian and gay people to receive public services from public servants .

Civil rights group Liberty had supported council in the case and described it as a common sense judgement .

Corinna Ferguson, Liberty's legal officer who specialises in religious freedom cases, said: Freedom of conscience is incredibly precious but other people have rights and freedoms too. Employers can't be expected to promote equal treatment under the law if they must also accommodate discrimination on the part of their employees.

Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said the ruling was important and definitive . He said: It establishes, we hope definitively, that because a person has strong religious views, it does not give them the right to discriminate against and deny services to others of whom they disapprove.

Parliament has decided that gay people are entitled to civil partnerships and that their right to such a service be protected in law, so there should therefore be no opt-outs on any grounds, religious or otherwise, for public servants from performing these ceremonies. Christian conscience should not be a blanket licence to discriminate against others.

Ladele and the Christian Institute, which is supporting her, were refused leave to appeal at the Supreme Court. However, they plan to go to the Supreme Court directly to attempt to overturn the ruling.

Update: Appeal Refused

12th March. See article from

Lillian Ladele's situation does not raise legal points of general public importance , according to the highest court in the land.

She is now considering whether to try to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights, as she believes it shows that the right to religious conscience has been trampled by the rights of homosexuals.


3rd December

Update: You Couldn't Make it Up...

Relate employee loses case against dismissal for refusing to counsel gays

A relationship counsellor who refused to offer sex therapy to gay couples has lost his unfair dismissal appeal.

Gary MacFarlane was sacked by marriage guidance service Relate after he said he could not do anything to promote gay sex.

He alleged Relate had refused to accommodate his Christian beliefs.

The service's chief executive Claire Tyler said: The appeal judgement validates Relate's commitment to equality of access to our services. Relate's trusted service, both in Avon and across the country, relies on making sure that all members of society, regardless of their gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or relationship status, are able to access respectful and professional counselling and sex therapy.

Relate is committed to supporting all religious beliefs working within Relate. However, our primary consideration is to our clients who often need complex advice and assistance. We cannot allow anything to damage our clients, or to undermine the principle of trust that underpins our work.

MacFarlane, a former church elder, was appealing on the grounds of religious discrimination at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Bristol.

The tribunal, chaired by employment judge Toomer, dismissed MacFarlane's claims of harassment.


9th January

Update: Relating to Gay Discrimination...

Christian who refused to counsel gay couples fails in his claim of unlawful discrimination

A Christian relationship counsellor who was sacked after he refused to give sex therapy to homosexual couples has lost his case for unlawful discrimination.

An employment tribunal ruled that the national counselling service Relate was entitled to dismiss Gary McFarlane after he said that encouraging gay sex went against his devout religious beliefs.

The decision prompted Christian groups to demand a rethink of religious discrimination laws, following a string of other high-profile cases in which courts have found against Christians who claim they have suffered as a result of standing up for their beliefs.

Andrea Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, which supported McFarlane in his claim, said the religious discrimination law was in danger of becoming a dead letter , while the Christian Institute said there was a growing feeling among churchgoers that religious discrimination laws only applied to Muslims and other minority faiths.

McFarlane brought his claim for unfair dismissal after he was sacked in March 2008. In 2006, after he qualified as a psychosexual therapist, he made it clear to his employers that his strong Christian beliefs meant he did not feel able to give sex therapy advice to homosexuals. Fellow counsellors objected to his stance and claimed his views were homophobic, and in March 2008 he was sacked.

An employment tribunal panel unanimously rejected his claim, though the panel decided McFarlane had been wrongfully dismissed as Relate had not followed the correct dismissal procedures. The panel said McFarlane's claim had failed because: The claimant was not treated as he was because of his Christian faith, but because (Relate) believed that he would not comply with its policies and that it would have treated anyone else of whom that was believed, regardless of religion, in the same way.


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