Christian relationship counsellor sacked over same sex couples stance awaits result of court case
A relationship counsellor who was dismissed because he said his religious beliefs would prevent him from giving advice to same sex couples is awaiting the outcome of a European Court of Human Rights case.
Bristol therapist Gary McFarlane has been supported by the Christian Legal Centre for the latest action which focuses on how the European Convention on Human Rights should protect the rights of Christians to follow their faith in public.
The result of his case and three others are expected to be released tomorrow.
Two of the cases relate to a Christian nurse and air stewardess wearing crosses to work while the other focuses on a registrar who was unprepared to conduct civil ceremonies for couples of the same sex.
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They are particularly interested in seeing how the judgement will interpret article nine, which refers to the "freedom of thought, conscience and religion".
Mr McFarlane was dismissed from his role for gross misconduct after raising concerns about working with couples of the same sex during a training course.
He said that he might have to raise a "conscientious objection" if the matter ever arose, due to his Christian faith.In September 2012, the UK government contested all the cases and the case was taken to the European Court of Human Rights.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, said: "These are landmark cases and we have waited a long time to get to this point.
"At stake is not only the future shape of Christian involvement in community life but the protection of important personal freedoms in a diverse society."