Catholic charity put to test at tribunal for gay discrimination

A 27-year-old man has appealed to an employment tribunal claiming a Catholic charity withdrew a job offer when it found out he was gay.

The man says he was verbally offered a job as a port chaplain with the Apostleship of the Sea charity, but the offer was withdrawn when it found out he was in a homosexual relationship.

The case will be the first test of the Employment Discrimination regulations on sexual orientation, which were introduced last year. The new regulations outlawed discrimination by employers on the grounds of sexual orientation, but exempted religious organisations, which can still object on principle.

The charity's national director, Commodore Chris York, is thought to have consulted with the charity's trustees before withdrawing the job offer.

A charity spokesman said the offer was withdrawn because the man was found to be in a relationship outside of marriage.

"Heterosexual candidates were rejected on the same grounds of being in a relationship outside of marriage. As the post was for a chaplain, an essential criterion was to uphold and be seen to uphold the doctrines of the Catholic Church."

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