Christian doctor takes pronoun case to Court of Appeal after ‘muddled’ judgment

Jun 30, 2022 by

from Christian Today:

A Christian doctor is to appeal a judgment affirming his right to disagree with transgenderism while asserting that these views cannot be expressed in the workplace.

Dr David Mackereth, 58, was fired as a medical assessor for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in 2018 after refusing to refer to transgender clients by their chosen pronouns.

He challenged his firing, claiming it breached his right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, but in 2019, he lost his case when an employment tribunal ruled that his belief in Genesis 1:27 – that humans are born male and female – was “incompatible with human dignity”, “unworthy of respect in a democratic society” and “mere opinion”.

At the Employment Appeal Tribunal on Wednesday, Justice Eady said that the original ruling “erred in law”, meaning that Dr Mackereth’s beliefs are protected under the Equality Act and Human Rights Act.

“It had been wrong to find these were merely opinions based on the information available,” the judgment reads.

It continues, “The ET had wrongly considered the claimant’s beliefs relative to his particular employment; had erroneously assumed they must give rise to unlawful discrimination or harassment; had focused on the potential manifestation of the claimant’s beliefs instead of the beliefs themselves; and had applied too high a threshold.”

It added, “The fact that a belief is likely to cause offence cannot, however, mean that it is automatically excluded from protection.”

However, Dr Mackereth lost his appeal because the judgment concluded that while belief in Genesis 1:27 might be protected, the original ruling “drew a permissible distinction between the claimant’s beliefs and the particular way in which he wished to manifest those beliefs (Page v NHS) and meant that his claim of direct discrimination had to fail”.

The judgment concludes, “Critically evaluating the reasoning in this case (as we are required to do), we cannot see that the ET erred in concluding that the measures adopted by the [Department for Work and Pensions] were necessary and proportionate to meet a legitimate focus on the needs of potentially vulnerable service users and on the risks to those individuals and, in consequence, to the [Department for Work and Pensions].”


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