European court says U.K. equality laws trump personal religious beliefs

CANTERBURY, England — The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday (Jan. 15) ruled that equality laws trump personal religious … Continued

CANTERBURY, England — The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday (Jan. 15) ruled that equality laws trump personal religious beliefs, rejecting three of four appeals filed by British Christians who were fired or disciplined for expressing religious beliefs in the workplace.

In what lawyers describe as “landmark rulings,” the court in Strasbourg, France, ruled that employers did not violate the religious rights of a registrar who refused to officiate for the civil partnership of a same-sex couple or of a counselor who was unwilling to offer sex therapy for gays.

Europe’s highest human rights court also rejected an appeal by a nurse whose hospital barred her from wearing a cross around her neck because it was a health hazard.

But in a fourth case, a British Airways clerk who was suspended for wearing a cross necklace on the job won her appeal and was awarded damages.

Nadia Eweida took the airline to an employment tribunal after claiming religious discrimination; British Airways maintained the cross was a breach of company uniform codes.

In Britain, her case was rejected by the employment tribunal, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, but the European judges ruled in her favor.

“Delighted that principle of wearing religious symbols at work has been upheld — people shouldn’t suffer discrimination due to religious beliefs,” British Prime Minister David Cameron responded on Twitter.

The court rejected three other cases: Nurse Shirley Chaplin, who was switched to a desk job after she refused to remove a crucifix that she wore with her uniform; marriage counselor Gary McFarlane, who was sacked for saying he might object to offering sex therapy to homosexuals; and registrar Lillian Ladele, who was disciplined when she refused to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies.

Shami Chakrambarti, director of the human rights group Liberty said: “Today’s judgment is an excellent result for equal treatment, religious freedom and common sense. Nadia Eweida wasn’t hurting anyone and she was perfectly capable of doing her job while wearing a small cross. British courts lost their way in her case and Strasbourg has actually acted more in keeping with our (British) traditions of tolerance.”

The U.S.-based Alliance Defending Freedom, which helped represent Eweida in British courts, said “Christian employees should not be singled out for discrimination. No one should have to hide their faith or act contrary to it.” The ADF called the other three rejections “extremely disappointing.”

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  • Who Is Jesus?

    “Being gay is more important than being Christian. Religious belief is not valid. Crucifixes are bad. There is no God. There is only satan. But he’s real, and God isn’t”.

    Said the satanic “Rosemarys Baby” courts.

    Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men shall revile and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.

    Rejoice and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

    Matthew chapter 5 verses 10-12.

  • albanmaldoom

    Typical bloody christians getting all arsey and playing the victim. In the UK christians and gays have the same legal rights, which means if Gays were bumming in church, they’d be arrested.

    At the same time if a couples councillor is homophobic for religious reasons, and knows that gay people might need counselling relating to their sexual activities, then they shouldn’t be a councillor if they are uncomfortable doing so.

    The christians in the uk are a privileged minority and now this unfair privilage is slowly being stripped in the name of equal rights, they are acting as if they’ve been thrown to the lions

  • Who Is Jesus?

    @Garak.

    Why do you hate Christians? Is our belief in Jesus less valid than the atheists belief that upon examination of our beautiful, amazing universe, that in fact there is no God?

    If God can create the universe, and your energy, to tumble through it, for 14 trillion years uninterupted, than are you, as His creation, looking around exclaiming “Harumph! There is no Creator, I have no soul!” Screaming “Science!” as you theorize/discover its laws? God is the greatest scientist.

    Come to Jesus, before your heart is hardened. If God can create the universe, He can certianly send His Son to be scourged and crucified as blood atonement for your sin, born of a virgin. Once. In all Creation, over 14 trillion years. It happened. It was reported in a flurry of reports and letters writtn during the time period. It is accepted historical fact. It is uou tp to you to repent and be Born Again in Jesus. Then he will confirm to you with signs and wonders in your own life. I testify of it.