A Christian Conservative councillor has been vindicated after being removed from her position for refusing to back a gay pride event. Mary Douglas, who has been a Conservative councillor in Salisbury for 15 years, was told she could not longer continue in her portfolio role for skills and social mobility in November 2019 after she argued against the use of public funds to support a Pride event.
Last week Cllr Douglas challenged the council’s decision to bring code of conduct proceedings against her after they alleged that she acted in a manner which contravened the public sector equality duty.
Following the hearing, the council ruled that Cllr Douglas had the right under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights to express opposition in her statement.
The Christian Legal Centre, which has been supporting Cllr Douglas in her case, said that her arguments were based around the fact that her opposition to the event was not indicative of any opposition towards the people involved, but rather towards the message being promoted.
The submission concluded: “Both sets of beliefs, those which support the LGBT campaigning worldview here represented by the grant proposal in question, and those which rest on dissenting philosophical, moral and religious convictions, enjoy equal protection under the law.”
In response to the decision, Cllr Douglas said: “I am relieved and thankful for this outcome. If they had found that I breached the code of conduct then the implications for public discourse would have been horrendous.
“In effect, what [the decision] would have been saying is, you cannot disagree with a group of people without that being understood as disrespectful.
“I pray that this could help change the way, as a society, we react to people who disagree with us on any count.
“I've already today received two emails, one, just abusive, and the other misrepresenting my view; normally, I just file them and ignore them, but this time, I thought: I won't. I responded to the first basically saying, it's not okay to send an email like that to any human being.”
“Pray that all the lies that we've been fed and still are being fed over, will just be shown to be what they are, which is rubbish, and that we would all.... seek God for who he really is. That's my prayer.”