Pastor who lost his job after posting anti-gay pride tweet was discriminated against, judge rules

Keith Waters, 55 claimed he was 'forced out' of the Isle of Ely Primary School in Ely, Cambridgeshire

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A pastor who lost his job after sending a tweet urging Christians not to attend gay pride events was discriminated against, a judge has ruled.

Keith Waters, 55, is a minister at an evangelical church and a former caretaker at a primary school.

But after posting the tweet, Mr Waters claimed he was “forced out” of the Isle of Ely Primary School in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

The tweet said: “A reminder that Christians should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June.

Keith Waters, 55 was a minister at an evangelical church
Keith Waters, 55 was a minister at an evangelical church
Mr Waters told Christians not to attend gay pride events
Mr Waters told Christians not to attend gay pride events

“They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Christian faith and morals. They are especially harmful to children.”

He was slammed for his comments, with people labelling them as homophobic.

A campaign group even sent undertakers to Mr Waters’ home to “discuss his funeral”.

Isle of Ely also opened an investigation into his remarks, but Mr Waters resigned just a day before he was due to face a disciplinary hearing.

But now the Cambridge Employment Tribunal has now said that Mr Waters was a victim of discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief.

Judge Sarah King said: “A widely shared belief demands particular care before it can be condemned as being not worthy of respect in a democratic society.

“Beliefs which are offensive, shocking or even disturbing to others can still be protected."

Speaking after the decision, Mr Waters said it was "an important win for our freedom to speak the truth of the gospel without fear of losing our jobs.

“I took legal action, not because I wanted to sue the school but because what happens to me goes to the heart of what it means to be free to preach the gospel in the UK.”

But the court did not uphold claims of direct discrimination and unfair dismissal.

A spokesman for the Active Learning Trust, which runs the primary school added: “We welcome the decision of the employment tribunal that the claims of direct discrimination and unfair dismissal were not well founded and were dismissed.”