In April 2014, a formal investigation was launched after Margaret (Jones of Bedford) was accused of “gross misconduct”. During that process she explained that since every marriage ceremony requires two members of staff – one to conduct and one to register – she was willing to handle the paperwork on the day of the marriage ceremony, but not to conduct the actual wedding.. with the result that no couple would be denied a service.
Following the investigation, Margaret was dismissed on the basis that her refusal breached equality laws and ‘brought the council into disrepute’. This was despite the fact that none of her shifts had coincided with any same-sex wedding ceremony and she had not refused to carry out any duties. “As I have not yet done anything wrong, I am being sacked for my belief, not my actions,” she wrote.
…to assume religious freedoms will last indefinitely without being squeezed is to ignore the tides of secularism that are reforming the landscape.
Has your religion or belief, or that of other people, affected your experiences in the workplace or the services you receive as part of your daily life? Or perhaps they impact on you as an employer or manager? If so, we (the Equality and Human Rights Commission) want to hear from you, whether your experiences are good or bad.
You can almost guarantee these days that every couple of months there’ll be another ‘Christian persecution’ story making its way into the papers that tells of a Christian trying to get on and do their job, but because they choose to stay true to their beliefs end up being accused up of being intolerant, awkward, forcing those beliefs on others or just being downright homophobic. Too often these cases we hear of have ended up with sackings and (mostly messy) court hearings and appeals that can still leave judges in a quandary months afterwards.
The latest incident involved Margaret Jones, a registrar at Bedford registry office who met with her management in March and confirmed that, as a Christian, she believed marriage can only be between one man and one woman. She said she would be unwilling to conduct same-sex weddings as she “would not be able to say the words and be…
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