Monday, July 08, 2019

UK: Black Christian student kicked off university course over gay marriage views wins court of appeal fight

A Christian student kicked off a university course over his views on gay marriage has celebrated his latest legal battle as “great news" for anyone who cares about free speech.

Felix Ngole, 41, said that he was expressing a traditional religious view when he was accused of posting derogatory comments about homosexuals and bisexuals on Facebook.

As a result of was thrown off the Sheffield University course where he was completing a postgraduate degree in social work. University bosses said Mr Ngole showed "no insight" and the decision to remove him from the course was fair.

They said he had been studying for a professional qualification and they had to consider his fitness to practise.

However the devout Christian, of Barnsley, south Yorkshire, said his rights to freedom of speech and thought, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, were breached when he was thrown out.

Deputy High Court Judge Rowena Collins Rice ruled against Mr Ngole following a trial in London in 2017, but today three Court of Appeal judges overturned that ruling and said that university bosses should reconsider.

Mr Ngole posted comments in 2015 when taking part in a debate on a Facebook page about Kim Davis, a state official in the US state of Kentucky, who refused to register same-sex marriages, judges heard

He had said Mrs Davis's position was based on the "Biblical view of same-sex marriage as a sin", said he was making a "genuine contribution" to an important public debate, and he was "entitled to express his religious views".

University bosses said that he had posted comments on a publicly accessible Facebook page which were "derogatory of gay men and bisexuals" and Judge Collins Rice ruled that university bosses acted within the law, however appeal judges said the university's disciplinary proceedings were flawed.

The three judges said that university bosses adopted an untenable position - thinking that any expression of disapproval of same-sex relations, however "mildly expressed", on a public social media platform was a breach of profession guidelines and that a university fitness to practise committee should stage another hearing and reconsider Mr Ngole's case.



Bird of Paradise said...

Shall those University Administrators like the Humble Pie along with the Crow its on the house tonight

Stan B said...

This all would have been a non-issue if the man had simply been Islamic. Just sayin'.