UK Man Demoted For Marriage Comment On Facebook Wins Suit

A British man who was demoted in his job after posting a comment about gay marriage has won a breach-of-contract suit against his employer.

Adrian Smith of Bolton was previously relieved of his managerial duties at the Trafford Housing Trust and had his salary cut 40% after he posted that a same-sex wedding held in a church was  “equality too far,” next to a link to a news story with the headline, “Gay church ‘marriage’ set to get the go-ahead.”

“Mr Smith was taken to task for doing nothing wrong, suspended and subjected to a disciplinary procedure which wrongly found him guilty of gross misconduct, and then demoted to a non-managerial post with an eventual 40% reduction in salary,” cited a High Court judge. “The breach of contract which the Trust thereby committed was serious and repudiatory.”

Though he won his case, the payout Smith received was limited to £100 (about $160) because of “legal technicalities,” according to the BBC.

Smith, 55, released a statement: “Something has poisoned the atmosphere in Britain, where an honest man like me can be punished for making perfectly polite remarks about the importance of marriage. I have won today. But what will tomorrow bring? I am fearful that, if marriage is redefined, there will be more cases like mine – and if the law of marriage changes people like me may not win in court.”

He also asked if Prime Minister David Cameron wanted a society in which “people who believe in traditional marriage, are treated as outcasts?”

Foes of marriage equality will point to cases like this as a sign of how their liberties will be taken away if same-sex marriage is legalized in the US. It’s a dodge, of course—England doesn’t have marriage equality yet and Smith was penalized. But this is a case where someone went too far in trying to do the right thing.

There are situations where a comment on social media can justly affect someone’s job, but this wasn’t one of them. The Trust has a policy that prohibiting comments of a political or religious nature “that might upset coworkers.” With that kind of ridiculously broad parameter even “Liking” a candidate could get you in hot water.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #adriansmith #facebook #internet stories and more


  • 2eo

    The usual rags are picking this up as a “blow against secular society”, see Daily Heil and Telegraph for more details.

    Funny though that these same papers want too see “blasphemy” [which I don’t consider an actual thing that exists] laws extended to put people in jail for speaking out against christianity [not islam though, because muslims 9/11 etcetera], they want free speech but only their free speech.

    Their hypocrisy is sad. On the same sites they’re defending a bus driver who refused to drive a bus because of a Stonewall ad, he is also on record saying gays should be executed.

    But free speech applies when it’s hate done by christians, it isn’t fascism if christians do it after all.

  • Sohobod

    I don’t ofter agree with peter Tatchell, but he was right when he defended this man’s right to say what he wanted on his own private Facebook page. If he was writing on the companey’s account – that would be different – but he wasn’t. He wasn’t offensive. He didn’t insight violence or hatred. I dissagree with him, and he was wrong in saying that religious institutions will be forced to marry same sex couples, but he has a right to be wrong.
    It must seem starnge to Americans that a Conservative prime minister is being critisised for pushing the ‘gay agenda’ down christian’s throats.

  • MK Ultra

    I agree. He shouldn’t have been punished. His opinion is bigotted. Just as if I said, ” I’m rich, so I deserve nice things and an easy life. Poor people and middle class don’t because I’m better than them. And if poor and middle class people are allowed expensive things, it will ruin them for me. Therfore there must be no social mobility or my rights will be violated”.
    Sure it’s an asshole thing to say, but not illegal. It certainly falls under entitlement to one’s opinion.
    BTW I’m not rich, and even if was, I wouldn’t have that opinion.

    But something tells me that if I was, and their are people like that, that trying to justify it by titling it “just my belief”, wouldn’t make it less monstrous in the eyes of those middle class and poor people.

  • alexoloughlin

    The problem with this is if gays started posting offensive, hateful comments on Facebook about so called “christian” right wingers, there would be uproar. They’d be the first to scream “abuse of religious freedom” as well as using religion to play the victim card. For them it’s a one way street in their favor, not ours. Until there is parity on both sides, I have no sympathy for this man. If you can’t take the heat, shut the fuck up and keep your hate off social media.

Comments are closed.