Mayoral candidate who wants to offer free conversion therapy sues ex-employer for ‘discrimination’

Former Lewisham mayoral candidate Maureen Martin

A former South London mayoral candidate, who wants to ban same-sex marriage and abortion, is suing her ex-employer after she was fired for holding anti-LGBTQ+ views.

Maureen Martin won one per cent of the vote when she stood as a candidate in the London borough of Lewisham’s mayoral election earlier this year, but caused widespread outrage for distributing anti-LGBTQ+ flyers to residents as part of her campaign.

The flyers promised Martin would “cut through political correctness” and “simply state the truth” about “natural marriage between a man and a woman”.

She added that heterosexual marriage was “the fundamental building block for a successful society, and the safest environment for raising children”.

After she had circulated the flyers her employer, the housing association L&Q, received several complaints, asking for Martin to be subjected to disciplinary action.

Martin was suspended and, after a full disciplinary hearing, was later sacked for gross misconduct.

She is now suing L&Q, supported by anti-LGBTQ+ lobby group Christian Concern, accusing her former employer of discrimination, harassment and unfair dismissal.

“I was devastated, but also sadly not surprised that L&Q would treat me in this way,” Martin said in a statement.

“I have a right to express my own Christian beliefs in my own private time and should not be required to self-censor valid beliefs on marriage, abortion and US politics. I would not treat people in any way other than professionally.

“It was a general statement I made and I am quite within my right to make it. We either have freedom of speech in the UK, or we do not. We must have the freedom to disagree with each other without it resulting in people having their lives torn apart.

“I am determined to fight for justice and to ensure that no other Christian political candidates and employees go through what I have.”

Fiona Fletcher-Smith, L&Q group chief executive, told PinkNews: “We are proud to promote equality for people from all backgrounds. While we respect that individuals’ freedom to hold particular religious or other beliefs is absolute, we do not tolerate it when these beliefs are manifested in a way that is derogatory or offensive to others.

“L&Q therefore has a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination of any kind – whether that be shown through actions or words in the workplace, made public on social media channels, or shared in other publicly available materials or forums.

“Following complaints from residents this matter was investigated in accordance with L&Q’s policies and procedures, and in line with equalities legislation and the ACAS code of practice, and the appropriate action taken.

“We have also engaged with our diversity networks during this case and are united in our commitment to a zero-tolerance approach.”

Maureen Martin’s party wants to offer free conversion therapy to trans people

Maureen Martin is president of the Christian People’s Alliance, a UK political party which is a member of the far-right European Christian Political Movement.

According to the CPA’s 2019 general election manifesto, the party believes “natural marriage between one man and one woman has been and remains the fundamental building block for a successful and healthy society, and the safest and most beneficial environment for the raising of children”. And it aims to oppose “all attempts to redefine the meaning of marriage and will repeal those laws which have already attempted to do this”.

It also promises to take away any medical privacy for under-18s, including sexual health services, to ban abortion, to make gender-affirming medical care for trans youth illegal, and to remove any NHS provision for trans adults.

The manifesto adds: “We will, however, provide free therapy and counselling for those suffering from ‘gender dysphoria’ to help live a fulfilling life in their natural identity based on their God-given biological sex.

“Similarly, people should be free to obtain counselling of whatever kind they choose (faith-based or otherwise) to deal with, and overcome, unwanted same-sex attraction.”

The CPA also promises to do away with compulsory sex education, to make all schools teach Christian values, and to encourage children to question evolution.