Sunday, 26 October 2008

Christian claims, I was sacked from Relate for refusing to give sex advice to gay couples

A relationship counsellor claims he was sacked because he admitted that his Christian beliefs could prevent him giving sex therapy to gay couples.

Gary McFarlane, a father of two who has worked for the national counselling service Relate since 2003, says that it failed to accommodate his faith or allow him to try to overcome his reservations.

Now Mr McFarlane, 47, is taking his case to an employment tribunal, alleging unfair dismissal on the grounds of religious discrimination.

The controversy follows the case in July of Lillian Ladele, the Christian registrar who successfully challenged Islington Council over her refusal to conduct civil partnership ceremonies for gay couples.

Mr McFarlane, a solicitor, said he was 'sad and disappointed' with the 'bigotry' he had experienced at the Bristol branch of Relate from 'a group of people with their own agenda'.

'If I was a Muslim this would not happen,' he said. 'They would find a way to make the system work. But Christians seem to have fewer and fewer rights. Relate needs to be forced to work through stuff like this.'

Mr McFarlane, who regularly attends both Church of England and Pentecostal services in Bristol, joined Relate Avon five years ago. Read more
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