A Christian who was demoted after posting his opposition to gay marriages on Facebook has taken his employer to court.
Adrian Smith lost his managerial position and had his salary cut by 40% by Trafford Housing Trust (THT) after posting that gay weddings in churches was "an equality too far."
Mr Smith gave evidence today at Manchester County Court at the start of a two-day trial where he is claiming his employers acted unlawfully in demoting him.
He claims THT breached his employment contract and interfered with his right to free speech.
His case is being supported by The Christian Institute, a national civil liberties charity.
The dispute first began on February 13 last year when Mr Smith saw an article on the BBC News website headlined "Gay church marriages get go ahead".
He linked to the article on his personal Facebook page and added the comment: "An equality too far."
His Facebook page can only be viewed by friends, and friends of friends, but not by the general public. Some of his colleagues are listed as his Facebook friends.
Two colleagues read the remark and one of them posted a response asking Mr Smith to explain what he meant.
The next evening Mr Smith posted: "I don't understand why people who have no faith and don't believe in Christ would want to get hitched in church.
"The Bible is quite specific that marriage is for men and women. If the state wants to offer civil marriage to the same sex then that is up to the state; but the state shouldn't impose its rules on places of faith and conscience."
Bosses at Trafford Housing Trust were alerted to the comments, and took disciplinary action against Mr Smith.
The Trust says he broke their code of conduct.
The THT said, in a statement on their website, that a claim made against them by Mr Smith for breach of his human rights was dismissed by a judge in March this year with Mr Smith ordered to pay legal costs.
The statement adds: "There is now a second hearing relating to the Trust's decision to demote him from his position as a Manager.
"This is taking place in Manchester County Court.
"As this matter is subject to legal process, the Trust can not make any further comment at this time."
The case continues tomorrow morning.Suggest a correction