After she lost her job for supporting biblical, heterosexual marriage, a London-area woman is fighting back. Maureen Martin is suing the housing association that employed her for 13 years, saying it essentially cancelled her because of her faith.
Martin, 56, is also an ordained Christian minister and president of the Christian People’s Alliance, a U.K. political party based on biblical values. This spring, she ran as a mayoral candidate in Lewisham, near London.
When Martin posted a campaign leaflet that was deemed politically incorrect, complaints rolled in. After an investigation, her longtime employer, LONDON & Quadrant Housing Trust (L&Q), terminated her for views that are “perceived to be discriminatory” and that tarnish the company’s reputation.
Martin’s case, believed to be the first of its kind, “sends a crushing message to anyone who believes in Christian marriage and wishes to express those beliefs at work or in public office,” according to her legal team.
Maureen Martin’s Campaign Leaflet Touts ‘Natural Marriage’
In April, Maureen Martin shared an image of her campaign leaflet on social media. Among her six-point plan is this statement on 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 successfully society, and the safest environment for raising children.”
Gay-rights advocates weren’t happy with the leaflet—or with Martin. Some social media commenters said she was “breaking laws on hate speech & equality” and “actively promoting prejudice and discrimination” against gay people.
Two days after posting her leaflet, Martin was called into an “investigation meeting” at L&Q. HR officials said three complaints had been lodged against her. They also raised concerns about Martin’s previous tweets regarding topics such as transgender athletes and the rainbow pride flag.
After a brief suspension, Martin was fired for gross misconduct. L&Q says she expressed her viewpoints in “an inappropriate manner,” brought the company into “disrepute,” violated its social media policy, and failed to provide notice about a political candidacy.
‘Soviet-Style’ Interrogation Shocked Maureen Martin
Maureen Martin, who reportedly had an exemplary employment history at L&Q, describes being “shocked” by the “brutal” and “Soviet-style” interrogation. “I thought to myself, ‘There’s no way they could fire me over this, surely?” she says. “I had determined already that I was not going to back down from my Christian values. I will defend them.”