I cannot claim to have a hard and fast viewpoint on gay marriage, but I always believed that freedom of speech and common sense would prevail.
That is, until I read about how Adrian Smith of Bolton, working for Trafford Housing Trust, has been awarded less than £100 compensation after his legal action over breach of contract because he wrote on Facebook that gay weddings in churches were an “equality too far” (your report, 17 November). For the record, he lost his managerial post, had his pay cut by 40 per cent and was given a final warning. Freedom of Speech? Common sense? I think not. What next? Public flogging?
My viewpoint is now both hard and fast.
I agree with Alan Hinnrichs (Letters, 19 November) when he says that Adrian Smith had the right to post his feelings about gay marriage on Facebook but this brings up interesting issues about the areas in which free speech is allowed to trump the right not to be offended.
There are, for example, laws which quite rightly prevent racial hatred being spread in the media yet gay people, who no more chose their sexual orientation than they do their skin colour, continue to get it in the neck often for religious reasons.
A few months ago teenager Matthew Woods was imprisoned no less for posting on Facebook tasteless jokes about missing children and yet Cardinal Keith O’Brien can with impunity proclaim his belief that marriage equality is a “grotesque subversion”.
Remember that Stonewall, for highlighting this abuse in its “Bigot of the year” award, was threatened with funding withdrawal and the Reading University Atheist Society was thrown out of the building for its pineapple Mohammed talking point.
Do we see a pattern of inequality here ?