At Top European Court, Christian Says His Rights Discussed for 'First Time'

(Photo Credit: European Court of Human Rights/Screenshot)Judge Lech Garlicki, of the European Court of Human Rights (center), speaks ahead of a case on religious discrimination in Strasbourg, France on September 4, 2012.

A Christian British relationship counselor who claims religious discrimination after being fired for refusing to give sex therapy to same-sex couples, spoke out after a hearing of his case on Tuesday by the European Court of Human Rights, saying his rights had been discussed for the 'first time' after British employment tribunals rejected his claims.

Gary McFarlane, the counselor, said he was pleased with the way a hearing went Tuesday in Strasbourg, France.

The hearing also included three other Christian participants citing similar religious discrimination complaints. A ruling is expected months from now.

"Today, for the first time, I heard somebody talking about my rights," he said, according to CNN. "Surely I have some rights. I am a member of society. I have some beliefs."

He said it was a "tragedy" that the case had reached the ECHR.

McFarlane, who worked for government organization Relate until 2003, said "overzealous employers … would not consider reasonable accommodation" for his religious beliefs.

Other participants included Lilian Ladele, a Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the London Borough of Islington from 1992to 2009, who says was told by her employer that she would be required to officiate at civil partnership ceremonies between same-sex couples.

Both Ladele and McFarlane are Chrisitians who believe that homosexual relationships are contrary to God's law and that it is incompatible with their beliefs to do anything to condone homosexuality.

The other two applicants , Nancy Ewaida, and Shirley Chaplin say that visible wearing of a cross is an important part.

She worked for British Airways, which required her to wear and required uniforms and no display of jewelry. She began to openly wear a small silver cross in September 2006 and was placed into administrative work a month later.

Chaplain worked as a qualified nurse employed by the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS foundation Trust. She was asked to remove her crucifix on the chain around her neck to comply with hospital uniform policy stating that any jewellrey worn had to be discreet and banned necklaces to reduce risk of injury when handling patients.

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