Homophobia trumps duty on a Yorkshire bus

A CHRISTIAN bus driver, who allowed his hatred of gays to eclipse his sense of duty, left passengers stranded for around 20 minutes because his bus bore a Stonewall ad that said:

Some people are gay. Get over it!

According to this report, the unnamed driver would not operate the  X78 from Rotherham to Sheffield.

Among those stranded on the bus was Rebecca Neill, 25, from Herringthorpe, South Yorkshire.

She said:

There were quite a few passengers arguing with the imbecile, and several drivers as well. Someone was shouting at him: ‘You can’t do that, it’s disgusting.’

Then another driver got on and explained what was going on. He apologised and said that the poster wasn’t acceptable to this Christian, but that he didn’t agree with what the guy was doing.

Eventually, the next X78 service arrived and its driver swapped buses with the silly zealot.

In response to the incident, Stonewall’s Information Officer Louise Kelly said:

Passengers in Rotherham can rightly expect bus drivers to do the job they pay them to do – drive buses. If they are unwilling to, perhaps they should look for another job.

A spokesman for bus operator First Group said:

We are aware of an incident involving one of our drivers refusing to drive a bus at Rotherham Interchange. We have spoken to the driver in question and the matter has now been resolved. We would like to apologise to any customers that were affected during this isolated incident.

Stonewall’s “Some people are gay. Get over it!” adverts were placed on around 1,000 buses in London earlier this year.

However, the decision was met with criticism by religious anti-gay protesters, who concocted an alternative which read: “Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!” on a smaller number of buses. But their campaign failed when London Mayor Boris Johnson kicked it into the long grass.

Adrian Smith

Meanwhile, gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has reportedly welcomed a High Court ruling in favour of a Christian worker who was demoted and had his salary slashed for a comment he wrote on Facebook about equal marriage.

In a statement, Tatchell said:

This is a victory for free speech and fair play. Although Adrian Smith opposed religious same-sex marriages, he supported the right of gay couples to get married in a civil ceremony in a register office.

He is entitled to his view and should never have been demoted. I am glad that my statement in support of Adrian was used in his legal case and that he has been vindicated.

Smith lost his managerial position and had his salary cut by 40% by Manchester’s Trafford Housing Trust after he commented in an online news discussion about gay couples marrying in churches by saying it was “an equality too far” in February 2011.

On Friday, the 55-year-old won a breach of contract case against Trafford Housing Trust at the High Court in London.

Smith’s damages payout was limited to £100 because of legal technicalities.

He said:

I didn’t do this for the money – I did this because there is an important principle at stake.

In a statement, Mr Smith also criticised the government’s desire to introduce marriage rights for gay couples and said:

I have won today. But what will tomorrow bring? I am fearful that, if marriage is redefined, there will be more cases like mine – and if the law of marriage changes people like me may not win in court.

He added:

Does the Prime Minister want to create a society where people like me, people who believe in traditional marriage, are treated as outcasts?

The Christian Institute, the anti-gay group that paid for Mr Smith’s legal case, welcomed the ruling.

According to Sky News, spokesman Mike Judge said:

This is a good day for free speech. But would Adrian have won his case if marriage had already been redefined? I don’t think so. The government should stop playing politics with marriage, because it’s ordinary people like Adrian who’ll get it in the neck.

Matthew Gardiner, chief executive at Trafford Housing Trust, said:

We fully accept the court’s decision and I have made a full and sincere apology to Adrian.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn