This is a shocking case of a woman being sacked for declaring her Christian beliefs outside of the workplace, in her own private time.
For 13 years Maureen Martin had been an exemplary employee of London & Quadrant Housing Trust (L&Q), one of the largest housing associations in England. She’d also been involved in local council politics, having stood as a political candidate while working at L&Q without any issues.
But now Maureen has been sacked by L&Q for gross misconduct, simply for declaring her Christian beliefs during an election campaign representing the Christian Peoples Alliance. While campaigning in the London borough of Lewisham she told voters in an election leaflet that she believed in marriage between men and women, stating:
“I pledge to cut through political correctness and simply state the truth that natural marriage between a man and a woman is the fundamental building block for a successful society, and the safest environment for raising children.”
Incensed by those words, angry LGBTQIAA+ activists started posting the political leaflet on social media. Subsequently L&Q received 3 complaints from activists against Miss Martin for ‘hate speech’, even though there was no mention of L&Q in the election leaflet. One complaint described Miss Martin as a ‘bigoted moron’, while another demanded that ‘anti-oppressive training and disciplinary action’ be taken.
Triggered by this, L&Q conducted a review into Miss Martin’s ‘behaviour’ and subjected her to an abusive interrogation. Asked about her beliefs on same-sex marriage, Miss Martin said she had nothing to hide:
“I’m a Christian. It’s just my preference that a marriage be between a man and a woman. My view doesn’t affect my job in any way and hasn’t done since 2007. I’ve had no complaints from people of other sexual orientations or colleagues. I’ve never displayed or raised homophobic opinions in any form in my job.”
Following a disciplinary meeting, Maureen Martin was sacked on the grounds of gross misconduct. Her employer claims that Miss Martin’s campaign pledge was ‘discriminatory’ and would offend gay and trans people.
Ms Martin said she was ‘shocked’ at the ‘brutal’ interrogation, saying:
“I thought to myself, ‘There’s no way they could fire me over this, surely?’ I had determined already that I was not going to back down from my Christian values. I will defend them.”
“I was devastated. We either have freedom of speech in the UK or we do not. We must have the freedom to disagree with each other without it resulting in people having their lives torn apart. I have a right to express my own Christian beliefs in my own private time and should not be required to self-censor valid beliefs on marriage, abortion and US politics.”
“If my manifesto had been in support of same-sex marriage, would I have had the same response?”
Ms Martin lives with her 87-year-old father, and supports him financially. Following the sacking, she’s been left without employment and income.
Ms Martin is taking legal action against L&Q on the grounds of discrimination, harassment, and unfair dismissal.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said:
“For speaking about a positive vision of life and marriage as a building block for the good of our society she was silenced and de-platformed in the political space for boldly speaking about her faith in Jesus.”
“We have never seen a case like this which sends a crushing message to anyone who believes in Christian marriage and wishes to express those beliefs at work or in public office.”
“Maureen is a courageous woman who has been treated appallingly for having the guts to declare her belief that marriage between a man and a woman is best for children and our society.
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*This post was written by Family First staff writers.