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David Mackereth .png
Reuters
David Mackereth .png
Reuters
UK News

Judge rules Biblical beliefs on gender can be expressed at work but there will be no employment protection

by Donna Birrell

An Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that Biblical beliefs that don't affirm transgenderism are protected under the Equality Act.

However, Christians who express those beliefs in the workplace aren't protected against losing their jobs.

That's according to a judgment passed today in the case of a Christian doctor, who was sacked for refusing to identify clients by their chosen gender, instead of their biological sex.

Dr David Mackereth who was forced to leave his job as a medical assessor for the Department for Work and Pensions in 2018 had previously taken his case to an Employment Tribunal (ET). 

In October 2019 the Judge ruled that his belief in Genesis 1:27, that we are born male and female, was 'incompatible with human dignity', 'unworthy of respect in a democratic society 'and 'mere opinion.' 

Judge Perry ruled at the time that Dr Mackereth's biblical beliefs were not worthy of protection under the Equality Act.

Christian Concern says that ruling put Dr Mackereth's biblical beliefs on a par with neo-Nazi beliefs and was believed to be the first time in the history of English law that a judge had ruled that free citizens must engage in compelled speech.

At the Employment Appeal Tribunal today however, Justice Eady ruled that the Employment Tribunal had 'erred in law' in its previous ruling.

This means that beliefs that don't affirm transgenderism are now protected under the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act.

However, Dr Mackereth's appeal was dismissed by the EAT on the basis that the original Employment Tribunal had done a proper assessment of the situation as if the beliefs had been protected. It found that while the belief, or lack of belief, in transgenderism was protected, its manifestation in the workplace was qualified.

Justice Eady concluded the ruling by saying: "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]."

Dr Mackereth told Premier he is worn out by the case and may now retire from the medical profession. However, he says it's likely he will take his case to a higher court :

"I am grateful to the court for recognising that a belief that we are made by God, both male and female "in His image" is not incompatible with human dignity. The court has agreed to recognise this as a legitimate belief, but not to extend the same protections, under law, to that belief as to others. For this reason, I will be taking my case to a higher court.

"My case affects everyone, not just me and Bible-believing Christians, but anyone who is concerned by compelled speech and transgender ideology being enforced on the NHS and other public services.

"Everyone in the NHS should be able to say publicly without fear that a person cannot change sex, but instead we are being forced to accept a massive change to our concept of the medical reality of sex, with no scientific basis for that change.

"No doctor, or researcher, or philosopher, can demonstrate or prove that a person can change sex. Without intellectual and moral integrity, medicine cannot function and my 30 years as a doctor are now considered irrelevant compared to the risk that someone else might be offended.

"As Christians we are not trying to be unkind to people in any way. As Christians we are called to love all people with Christian love. But we cannot love people truly when we live and disseminate a lie.

"If we are to tell patients that they need to 'follow the science', then we must not tell them that they can change sex."

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: "This is a confusing and muddled judgment. The way in which the judge has driven a wedge between holding a belief and manifesting it, means these basic Christian beliefs are protected on paper but not in practice.

"The freedom to hold a belief, but not be able to express it, is no freedom at all. 

"This ruling means that you can believe that it is impossible to change sex but if you live out that belief as a doctor your job may be at risk.

"If you fail to comply, you could be forced out of your employment. 

"We stand with David as he continues to seek justice in this case." 

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