Gary McFarlane is a black, Pentecostal, marriage guidance counsellor. He was dismissed from his job working for the Marriage Guidance Council. The grounds for his dismissal was that he was asked whether in a hypothetical situation he would be willing to give advice on sexual techniques to a homosexual couple. He told his employers that he would be unable to do so, since his religious views made this an affront to his conscience.
I should say that the MGC has changed its name to the more trendy "Relate", so he was unable to use the excuse that a homosexual couple would not have been married. Relate receives most of its funds from a government (read taxpayer) grant.
I would have answered the question in the positive I would have given the couple the same advice that Bob Newhart gave in the famous comedy sketch where he played a psychiatrist. He only charged $5 for his advice since the sessions never lasted more than 5 minutes, the advice consisted of two words and was the same for all manner of psychiatric illness whether it was compulsive hand washing, claustrophobia or anorexia nervosa. The advice, shouted at the patient, was, "Stop it!"
Of course, I am joking. (Please don't write in and complain that I am making light of a serious situation. I know. I just wanted to amuse my readers.)
Mr Justice Laws has decreed that Mr McFarlane may not appeal against the decision that he was not unfairly dismissed since there could be no special dispensation in English law for the Christian religion (even though English law derives from Christian principles).
This is in an interesting break with the past. When abortion became legal, special provision was made to exempt doctors from being involved in abortions if their conscience was against it. When Sunday trading was brought in, shop employees who objected to working on Sundays were exempt for its provision. However, when the government decided that adoption agencies must be willing to place children with gay couples, Catholic adoption agencies were forced either to separate themselves from the Catholic church or not accept the government's (ie taxpayer's) money.
I think this is the nub of the problem. The State should not be involved in such things. Individual taxpayers are not asked whether they want their money spent on gay adoptions of sexual advice for gay couples. Almost certainly they would say no if asked. However, governments are elected for 5 years and can do what they want once elected. We do not have democracy but an elected dictatorship. At least we can throw them out after five years. Many charitable organizations have their origing in Christian organizations, but in taking government money they have been forced to accept secular standards. The remedy is to set up parallel organization for Christians and avoid like the plague anything with HMG stamped upon it. We also need to vote in a party committed to small government.