Christian Counselor Loses Case on Gay Sex Therapy

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By Ethan Cole, Christian Post Reporter
December 1, 2009|5:05 pm

A Christian marriage counselor in the United Kingdom who refused to offer sex therapy to a gay couple lost his appeal case.

Gary McFarlane, 47, was dismissed by the marriage guidance service Relate because he would not counsel a gay couple due to his belief that the Bible teaches that same-sex sexual practice is immoral. McFarlane, a former church elder, appealed Relate’s decision, citing religious discrimination, according to the BBC on Monday.

He said that he could not personally endorse homosexual relationships but did not object to other counselors giving such couples advice.

“This decision is a stark warning to people of conscience in this nation that as a result of 12 years of Labor rule, the British establishment no longer values the democratic rights of its citizens to hold conscience as a matter of principle,” McFarlane said, according to LifeSiteNews.com.

“Society is the worse for not allowing people of conscience to exercise legitimate rights.”

Relate, for its part, argues that it is committed to equal access to its services.

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McFarlane began training with Relate in 2003 and initially had good relationships with clients and colleagues, he said. Then in October 2007 he was suspended after he was asked by his manager about his views on same-sex couples, McFarlane said. After his suspension, he was called a “homophobe” and was dismissed in March 2008.

In January this year, an employment tribunal ruled that he was wrongfully dismissed but was not a victim of religious discrimination or unfair dismissal. The latest ruling rejected his appeal claim that he was dismissed for religious discrimination.

The Christian Legal Center supported McFarlane during his appeal.

“The seriously worrying underlying point in this case, which the Court has refused to accept, is that for religious belief to be protected it is necessary to uphold the right to manifest that belief,” said Andrea Minichiello Williams, according to LifeSiteNews.com.

She added that the judgment will “rule out any expression of deeply-held conscience.”

"Time and time again in British Courts we see that freedom of religion, Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, offers no protection whatsoever to Christians and other people of faith with a conscience," Minichiello Williams said.

The ruling comes after British actor David Suchet noted in an interview with Woman’s Weekly Magazine that Christianity is being marginalized in Britain. He pointed to a charity he works with that recently was turned down for government funding despite being funded by the government for several years.

"Don't misunderstand me," Suchet said. "We should embrace all religions and marginalize none. But we seem more concerned with marginalizing Christianity, and not offending other faiths. We are in danger of losing the importance of the Christian faith in our own country."

 

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