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Relate counsellor to appeal 'regrettable' judgment

Gary McFarlane told bosses he would not "encourage sin" in same-sex couples. Credit: Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

Former Relate counsellor Gary McFarlane, who was sacked after refusing to give sex therapy to same-sex couples, said the judgment by the European Court of Human Rights against him was "regrettable".

Speaking in central London, he said he would appeal the decision while continuing to counsel same-sex couples in other aspects of their lives.

The ECHR's ruling found against Mr McFarlane on the grounds that he took on the role at Relate in the knowledge that clients could not be divided up in accordance with their sexual orientation.

It concluded the company's action was designed to enable it to provide a service without discrimination.

Cross-wearing BA worker thanks Jesus after victory

I was very selfish initially when I heard the verdict because I was jumping for joy and saying 'thank you Jesus'. It's a vindication that Christians have a right to express their faith on par with other colleagues at work visibly and not be ashamed of their faith.

I'm disappointed on behalf of the other three applicants but I fully support them in their asking for a referral for their cases to be heard in the Grand Chamber, and I wish them every success in the future to win.

– British Airways check-in clerk Nadia Eweida

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Defeated Christians have three months to lodge appeal

Barrister Adam Wagner, who specialises in human rights, has confirmed the timeline for the three Christians who lost their cases at the European Court of Human Rights to appeal to the Strasbourg court's higher chamber.

Nurse calls on PM to change law for cross-wearers

While cross-wearing BA employee Nadia Eweida enjoyed victory at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), three other Christians lost their cases, including hospital nurse Shirley Chaplin, who had been prevented from wearing a cross visibly around her neck.

They will be appealing today's judgment at the ECHR's Grand Chamber.

Speaking at a news conference in central London, Ms Chaplin said she was "very disappointed" by the judgment but heartened that other Christians can now wear a cross in the workplace.

She said she still feels that other religions are given more freedom in the workplace and called upon David Cameron to live up to a promise to change the law to protect cross-wearers.

ECHR: 'Fair balance' not struck in BA cross-wearer case

BA's aim to project a certain corporate image was "undoubtedly legitimate". Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The European Court of Human Rights has deemed a fair balance was not struck between British Airways check-in clerk Nadia Eweida's desire to demonstrate her religious belief with a "discreet" cross and the airline's wish to "project a certain corporate image".

The judgment, published in Strasbourg, found the airline's aim was "undoubtedly legitimate" but said British courts had accorded it "too much weight" in previous rulings.

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Liberty praises 'excellent' judgment on BA cross-wearer

Today's judgment is an excellent result for equal treatment, religious freedom and common sense. Nadia Eweida wasn't hurting anyone and was perfectly capable of doing her job whilst wearing a small cross. She had just as much a right to express her faith as a Sikh man in a turban or a Muslim woman with a headscarf.

British courts lost their way in her case and Strasbourg has actually acted more in keeping with our traditions of tolerance. However the Court was also right to uphold judgments in other cases that employers can expect staff not to discriminate in the discharge of duties at work.

– Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty

Cross judgment 'probably' will help religious workers

Barrister Adam Wagner, who specialises in human rights, has tweeted that today's judgment by the European Court of Human Rights could benefit religious believers in the workplace:

BA worker won on grounds of freedom of religion

Nadia Eweida returned to work in 2007 after BA changed its uniform policy. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive

British Airways employee Nadia Eweida had argued the airline's denial of her wearing a cross contravened articles nine and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibit religious discrimination and allow "freedom of thought, conscience and religion".

Lawyers for the Government, which contested the claim, argued her rights were only protected in private.

But judges today ruled there had been a violation of article nine (freedom of religion), by five votes to two.

After being sent home in September 2006 for displaying the silver cross around her neck, Ms Eweida returned to work in customer services at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 in February 2007 after BA changed its uniform policy on visible items of jewellery.

ECHR: BA corporate image 'unharmed' by cross-wearer

Barrister Adam Wagner, who specialises in human rights, has played down the wider significance of BA worker Nadia Eweida's victory at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR):

He added that the ECHR judgment now means if an employer wants to prevent an employee from wearing a religious symbol for corporate image purposes, it must prove that its image has been negatively affected.

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