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Christian counsellor takes gay sex advice row to Human Rights Court

In 2008 Gary McFarlane from Bristol was sacked by Relate Avon – a company that provides relationship counselling and sex therapy. He claimed unfair dismissal on the grounds of religious discrimination, claiming he had been fired for refusing to give sex therapy to gay couples.

Mr McFarlane is one of four Christians who lost separate employment tribunals relating to their religious beliefs and who are now taking their legal fight to the European Court of Human Rights.

Mr McFarlane is taking his case to the ECHR alongside three other Christians – Shirley Chaplin, a nurse who was banned from working on hospital wards for wearing a cross around her neck; Nadia Eweida, a British Airways employee who was prevented from wearing a cross; and Lillian Ladele, who was disciplined by Islington Council for refusing to conduct civil partnership ceremonies for homosexual couples.

The Christian Legal Centre supports two of the four cases that of Mr McFarlane and Nurse Shirley Chaplin.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and founder of the Christian Legal Centre said: “Gary and Shirley have received massive support from the British public who believe that the ‘equality agenda’ has led to injustice.

“Many believe it is unfair that hard-working public servants and employees are being discriminated against simply because of their faith. It is very clear at the moment that there is either a major problem in the way that the Equality Act was drafted, and the way in which the Courts, and employers, fail to balance the rights of various groups and beliefs. It is time for this to be redressed.”