A housing association has reached a settlement with a Christian mayoral candidate whose employment was terminated after she described marriage as between a man and a woman in her manifesto.
Maureen Martin, president of the Christian Peoples’ Alliance (CPA) and an ordained minister, had worked for L&Q as a housing manager for 13 years before her termination in May last year.
She was standing in the local mayoral elections when she published a manifesto in which she outlined her political position on a number of issues, including marriage.
In her manifesto, she pledged “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.”
She was later investigated and sacked by L&Q for gross misconduct after three complaints were made alleging “hate speech.”
Supported by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), she challenged her dismissal, claiming that she was discriminated against.
Following her firing, 42,000 people signed a petition calling on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to amend the Employment Rights Act 1996 to protect free speech.
She has now received a “substantial” payout from the housing association after reaching a settlement, the CLC said.
Martin said she was “pleased” with the outcome.
“I know God brought me through this situation and I cannot emphasize more the importance of Christians taking a stand when being discriminated against,” she said.
“If you don’t challenge, you walk away with nothing and the employer who has discriminated against you believes that they have done nothing wrong and are likely to treat someone else similarly.
“It was chilling what happened to me, but I am now stronger for it.”
She urged other Christians not to compromise on their beliefs.
“Much of our culture is now anti-Christian and believes that biblical beliefs, especially on marriage and human sexuality, are ‘hate speech’ and therefore illegal,” she said.
“It is disturbing how Christian beliefs on marriage, which have been held and expressed for thousands of years, are being silenced and treated with such hostility and disdain in this country.
“I should have had a right to express my own Christian beliefs in my own private time and should not have been required to self-censor my beliefs or be forced out of my job.
“If my manifesto had been in support of same-sex marriage, would I have had the same response from my employer?
“The Bible simply does not condone same-sex marriage. If you try and take the middle ground on this issue, as the Church of England has tried to do, you quickly become compromised. As a Christian party, we are not in a popularity contest. We are in a truth contest, and when it comes to truth, we always win.”
She plans to stand again as a mayoral candidate in Lewisham next year.
“My message will not have changed. You can fire me, but you cannot silence me,” she added.
CLC chief executive Andrea Williams said that Christians were being “intimidated into silence.”
“Maureen is a courageous woman 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,” she 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 had never seen a case like this which sent a crushing message to anyone who believes in Christian marriage and wishes to express those beliefs at work or in public office.
“LGBT ideology fuelled by Stonewall activists has captured institutions to such an extent that free speech and Christian freedoms have been intimidated into silence.
“No Christian political candidate must face such treatment again.”