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UK marriage counselor, fired for refusing to work with gay couples, loses legal challenge

November 30, 2009

An English marriage counselor who was fired because he declined to work with same-sex couples has lost a claim that he was the victim of religious discrimination. Gary MacFarlane had challenged his dismissal from the Relate counseling service, saying that his religious beliefs prevented him from offering advice that could be taken as approval of homosexual acts. The Employment Appeal Tribunal of Bristol rejected his claim, saying that "Relate's commitment to equality of access" took precedence over his religious beliefs.


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  • Posted by: Gaby - Nov. 30, 2009 4:10 PM ET USA

    According to the BBC article, MacFarlane was never actually approached by a gay couple, never actually refused to help a single gay couple. This all started when his employer questioned him regarding his views on gays and then disciplined him and finally dismissed him -based on the purely HYPOTHETICAL possibility that he might offend some unamed, future, potential customer. Besides, doesn't this agency have OTHER consellors that could be assigned to gay couples?!?