A CHRISTIAN registrar, Margaret Jones, who was sacked after
saying that she would not conduct same-sex weddings has been
reinstated after a successful appeal.
Ms Jones (above), who is 54, was dismissed by Bedford
Register Office in May after she told her managers she would not
officiate at gay marriages because, as a Christian, she believed
that marriage was only between a man and a woman.
She had been accused of "gross misconduct" and "bringing the
council into disrepute" after refusing to back down, despite being
told to officiate at same-sex weddings or resign. But she has now
been reinstated after a panel of Central Bedfordshire Council
members found that Ms Jones's employers had not sought hard enough
to accommodate her religious beliefs.
Ms Jones, who had said that she was willing to do the paperwork
for same-sex weddings, argued in her witness statement that, as no
gay weddings had come up during her shifts, she had been sacked for
her convictions, not her actions. "I want people who get married to
have a good experience, and I don't think I could stand up and say
that it 'gives me great pleasure' to declare a gay couple married,"
Paul Diamond, barrister for the Christian Legal Centre, which
supported Ms Jones in her appeal, said: "All good employers should
follow this precedent, and practising Christians should no longer
fear expressing their beliefs."
Ms Jones said that she would not return to her position, as the
process had left her disillusioned.