A mayoral candidate for Lewisham, London has been fired from her job of 13 years after complaints were made about Christian views expressed in her political manifesto.
Maureen Martin was dismissed by her housing association employer, L&Q, in April for ‘gross misconduct’ after three complaints were made against her for ‘hate speech.’
The 56-year-old mayoral candidate for Lewisham was accused of bringing her employer ‘into disrepute’ by distributing a her six-point political plan to residents throughout the borough.
In the manifesto, Miss Martin vowed, if elected, to champion a Christian view of marriage and family:
“Marriage: I pledge to cut through political correctness and simply state the truth that natural marriage between a man and a woman is the fundamental building block for a successful society and the safest environment for raising children.”
The wording was taken almost exactly from the Christian People’s Alliance (CPA) election manifesto, the party Miss Martin was standing for as a candidate.
Following publication, the manifesto was shared by a resident on Twitter, suggesting it ‘broke the law’ and was ‘hate speech.’ Users then tracked down Miss Martin and found that she was employed by L&Q.
According to a press release from Christian Concern, after three complaints were issued to Miss Martin’s employer, she was suspended, investigated, hindered from campaigning as part of the election, and then dismissed for allegedly bringing L&Q into disrepute, breaching social media policy and failing to declare political interests.”
Miss Martin, however, reportedly had stood for the CPA since 2015 and had nomination papers signed by a previous line manager without issue. In January 2022, she also declared her role with the CPA on her employer’s register of interests.
In her dismissal letter, Mis Martin was told her views could be “perceived to be discriminatory, hurtful, and offensive views towards members of the LGBTQ+ community, non-traditional families, and abortion.”
With the support of the Christian Legal Centre, Miss Martin has launched legal action against her former employer on the grounds of discrimination, harassment, indirect discrimination, and unfair dismissal.
Miss Martin said she was devastated by her sacking but says she’s determined to fight for justice.
“I have been an exemplary employee, and I believe my Christian beliefs have been an asset to L&Q,” she said. “I have always gone above and beyond to help the people L&Q serve.”
“I have a right to express my own Christian beliefs in my own private time and should not be required to self-censor valid beliefs on marriage, abortion, and US politics.
Miss Martin went on to say, “We either have freedom of speech in the UK, or we do not. We must have the freedom to disagree with each other without it resulting in people having their lives torn apart…
“It is disturbing how Christian beliefs on marriage, which have been held and expressed for thousands of years, are being silenced and treated with such hostility and disdain.
“The message this is sending is if you want to engage politically and make a difference in your community, but if your views don’t line up with the liberal agenda, you can potentially be fired from your job.
“If my manifesto had been in support of same-sex marriage, would I have had the same response? I am determined to fight for justice and to ensure that no other Christian political candidates and employees go through what I have.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said she has never seen a case like this which sends a crushing message to anyone who believes in Christian marriage.
“LGBT ideology fuelled by Stonewall activists has captured institutions to such an extent that free speech and Christian freedoms have been intimidated into silence.”