Christian doctor in legal challenge against government department over gender pronouns

Dr David Mackereth(Photo: ITV)

A Christian doctor who claims he lost his job for refusing to address transgender people by their preferred pronouns was challenging the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) at a tribunal this week. 

Dr David Mackereth, from Dudley, West Midlands, is claiming discrimination on religious grounds because of his position on gender pronouns.

He claims that his views cost him his job as a disability claim assessor and that no effort was made to accommodate his religious beliefs, such as by having patients referred to another doctor. 

He has previously told an employment tribunal that he was sacked after saying he could not in conscience refer to "any 6ft tall bearded man" as "madam".

James Owen, manager at the Birmingham's Five Ways assessment centre, where Dr Mackereth worked, has said that the doctor was not suspended but chose not to return to work. 

In a written statement submitted to the tribunal, he described a meeting with Dr Mackereth in which the two discussed the use of gender pronouns. 

"I then asked the claimant if he would respect the customer's wish to be referred to by their chosen sexuality and name and would he convey that in his written report," the statement reads.

"The claimant categorically stated that he would not do that due to his beliefs and he could not put that in a report as his conscience would not allow that.

"The claimant also stated that he understood that his behaviour could be offensive.

"I read the answers back to the claimant and asked him to confirm if I had captured the information correctly. The claimant agreed.

"The claimant clearly stated that he would not address the transgender customers according to their preferred pronouns due to his Christian beliefs and that God would not allow him to do that."

According to Mr Owen's statement, Dr Mackereth then said he suspected that the outcome of the meeting "would not be in his favour". 

Mr Owen added: "I reiterated to the claimant that I did not know what the outcome would be and that it would not be my decision."

READ MORE: Victory for Christian social work student removed from course over Facebook post

He concluded: "We shook hands and I said to the claimant that I would be in touch. At no point was the claimant asked not to come back to work."

Dr Mackereth is being represented by the Christian Legal Centre, which argues that the (DWP) was in breach of the Equality Act for compelling staff to use 'transgender pronouns' against their freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said it "defies common sense" to require workers to use transgender pronouns.

"Dr Mackereth is a Christian hero who chose to sacrifice his distinguished professional career rather than compromise on the Bible and his conscience," she said. 

"The requirement to use so-called transgender pronouns defies common sense and Christian faith. It serves no useful purpose except filtering out firm Christians and men of principle such as Dr Mackereth.

"If we tolerate this as a society, if we give in on the essential freedom of thought, conscience and religion, no other freedom is safe. We are determined to fight all the way to secure justice in this case.

"If freedom to tell the truth – in this case calling a man 'he' and a woman 'she' – is suppressed, then truth itself is suppressed."

Dr Mackereth said: "I am determined to fight for justice in this case as firstly, as a society and in the medical profession, we are not allowed to say what we believe.

"Secondly, as my case shows, we are not allowed to think what we believe.

"Finally, we are not allowed to defend what we believe. Christians must be able to hold and express their faith in private and public and to uphold Biblical and scientific truths without fear of losing their livelihoods."

Read more: 

Christian doctor investigated again for speaking to patients about God

Former magistrate challenges sacking after saying adopted children were best placed with a mother and father

Psychotherapist warns of 'thought police' after losing transgender research case