Christian Brits take gov’t. to Euro court seeking right to discriminateAround the World Thursday, September 13th, 2012
LONDON (CNN) – Four British Christians have urged Europe’s top court to rule that they faced discrimination because of their religious beliefs.
Two women accuse their employers of refusing to let them wear crosses openly at work.
Alongside them, a woman who declined to register gay civil partnerships and a man who did not want to give sex therapy to same-sex couples say they were unfairly dismissed from their jobs.
Gary McFarlane, the relationship counselor, said he was pleased with the way the hearing went.
“Today, for the first time, I heard somebody talking about my rights,” he said. “Surely I have some rights. I am a member of society. I have some beliefs.”
He called it a “tragedy” that the case had gone all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.
He blamed “overzealous employers” who “would not consider reasonable accommodation” for his religious beliefs.
He never refused to treat a specific couple, raising his religious objections only in the abstract, said Andrea Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting him.
He and the other three Christians are fighting the British government, saying it failed to protect their rights.
The case could help to draw a clear boundary in cases where religious views contradict laws against discrimination. It will have implications across 47 countries on the continent.
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