Were These People Attacked for Their Positions on Marriage Equality?
A Massachusetts man says that he lost his retail job for simply stating his religious views on same-sex marriage, while an anti-gay group supporting the repeal of marriage equality in Maine says that a man who works in Maine's school system has come under attack because of his religious beliefs regarding gay and lesbian families.
Anti-gay pundits have jumped on the claims as proof that gays intend to destroy traditional marriage and brutally silence any dissent from people of faith.
An Oct. 30 posting at the Web site of anti-gay group Mass Resistance said that Peter Vadala lost his job as second deputy manager at a retail store in Boston's Logan Airport after telling a fellow employee that he was religiously opposed to marriage equality for gay and lesbian families.
The posting indicated that last August the co-worker, a women who was engaged to be married to her female partner, repeatedly approached Vadala about her impending wedding. When Vadala expressed his beliefs to her, the woman told him that she was going to notify human resources, according to the posting.
Vadala later lost his job. The letter terminating Vadala accused him of harassment, the posting said, and cited another employee who claimed that Vadala had said gay unions were "deviant." Vadala denied this.
Read the MassResistance posting, "It would certainly appear that if there ever was a case of harassment (and retaliation) it is what happened to Peter, not anything Peter did!"
The posting went on to make assertions about the grand scheme that gays and lesbians have to persecute people of faith. "This is a chilling example of the ultimate consequences of imposing the concept of same-sex 'marriage' through force of law," declared the posting. "We've certainly seen it coming. What happened to Peter is actually what was intended by the homosexual movement. It's about making people accept what they normally would not accept and punishing those who resist. And when these laws are in place, they pursue it with as much force as they feel necessary."
Similar claims were made in an Oct. 30 posting at the Wen site for Christian legal group The Alliance Defense Fund, which describes itself as "a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith."
According to the Alliance Defense Fund posting, Donald Mendell, a counselor at a Maine high school, was reported to a state licensing board by a co-worker after he voiced his agreement with the anti-marriage equality campaign in that state that seeks to rescind a law granting marriage rights to gay and lesbian families.
The posting relates that Mendell had been in an ad encouraging voters to support the anti-gay ballot initiative. The ad had been made in response to a pro-marriage ad in which a teacher at the same high school appeared. The posting asserted that pro-equality advocates wish to punish those who disagree with them. "No one should have their livelihood placed in jeopardy because they believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman," the text quoted an Alliance Defense Fund attorney, Austin R. Nimocks.
Added Nimocks, "This threat to Don, his family, and his career makes clear that those in favor of redefining marriage also want to penalize and silence those who don't agree with them. So, the definition of marriage is not the only thing at issue here. Free speech, freedom of conscience, and religious liberty are also in danger."
Maine voters will decide the fate of the state's gay and lesbian families at the ballot box on Nov. 3.