“Take sleep mark death”
…. Jamaican proverb…..
Red Cross volunteer, 71, axed over gay marriage protest:
Pensioner told he is no longer welcome at charity because his views are incompatible with its values
Bryan Barkley held the one-man protest outside Wakefield Cathedral
Stood by himself and held up a placard which read ‘No same sex marriage’
Has now been dismissed from the British Red Cross due to the protest
Was told he was no longer welcome as his views are incompatible with its values
A volunteer has been dismissed from the British Red Cross for protesting against gay marriage.
Bryan Barkley, 71, was told he is no longer welcome at the charity because his views are incompatible with its values.
The church-going pensioner received his dismissal letter after holding a one-man protest outside his local cathedral.
He held up a placard saying ‘No same sex marriage’ and ‘No redefinition of marriage’.
Yesterday his supporters said the charity’s action was shocking and it was punishing volunteers for their thoughts and views.
Mr Barkley, who has worked for 20 years as a senior Red Cross volunteer, is appealing against his dismissal which he calls ‘unfair and without justification’.
The grandfather, who has been married for 42 years, joined the organisation after taking early retirement from his job as a civil engineer and had recently represented it at a Buckingham Palace garden party.
He said yesterday: ‘What have I done wrong? I passionately believe that the institution of marriage is between a man and a woman and is the cornerstone of our society. Why is it wrong to say so in public?
‘Freedom of expression is being stifled in this country. I have nothing against homosexuals. But I don’t believe Parliament was representing the views of the people when it changed the definition of marriage.’
Mr Barkley, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, worked for the charity’s international tracing service helping reunite families in Britain with relatives in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He staged his protest outside Wakefield Cathedral in March.
It was reported in the local press and Pink News but his link to the Red Cross was not mentioned.
However, in May he received a letter from Andy Peers, director of operations for the charity in Yorkshire, summoning him to a disciplinary hearing.
The letter said it was to discuss his protest in relation to the ‘fundamental principles of the Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement and the values of the British Red Cross’.
During the meeting, Mr Peers told Mr Barkley that the British Red Cross does not have a view on same sex marriage because as a charity it is impartial and neutral. Yet on August 8, Mr Barkley was told the charity was withdrawing his ‘opportunity to volunteer’ with immediate effect.
The letter of dismissal accused him of breaching its principles. The Christian Institute, which co-ordinated opposition to gay marriage, is providing Mr Barkley with legal advice. Its director, Colin Hart, said: ‘This is a shocking case.
‘For nearly two decades Bryan helped reunite people with lost family members.
‘Yet after voicing his opposition to the Government’s plans to rip up the traditional definition of marriage he was fired.
‘His only crime seems to be that he was one of millions of ordinary people who opposed this change. What will disturb most people is that the Red Cross says it is not his actions but his thoughts and views that were the problem.
‘Is it now official policy of the Red Cross that any volunteer who holds traditional views on marriage will face the sack?’
The Red Cross said: ‘We are committed to and bound by our fundamental principles which… do not take sides in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
‘We have to consider the compatibility of people’s publicly expressed views in line with the fundamental principles.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2816610/Red-Cross-volunteer-71-axed-gay-marriage-protest-Pensioner-told-no-longer-welcome-charity-views-incompatible-values.html#ixzz3HqoNuJeH
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook