An elderly volunteer for the British Red Cross claims that he was kicked out of the organization over his vocal opposition to gay marriage.
Bryan Barkley, 71, advocated in March against same-sex matrimony by holding a one-man protest outside of a British cathedral, holding a sign that read, "No Same Sex Marriage."
He claims he was subsequently sent in May to meet with a Red Cross official and, while the organization reportedly told him that it doesn't have a definitive view on gay marriage, Barkley was dismissed from his volunteer duties a few months later, according to the Daily Mail.
Barkley, who reportedly helped the Red Cross reunite disconnected families during his two-decades with the group, was reportedly told in a letter issued in August that he had acted against the organization's values, according to the Christian Institute, a faith-based charity that defends religious freedom.
"What have I done wrong? I passionately believe that the institution of marriage is between a man and a woman and is the cornerstone of our society," Barkley said, according to the Christian Institute. "Why is it wrong to say so in public? Freedom of expression is being stifled in this country."
Barkley, who is apparently appealing the Red Cross' decision, said he has nothing against gays and lesbians, but that he opposes legalized same-sex marriage.
But, despite what's been reported, the British Red Cross is claiming that Barkley wasn't terminated due to his views on gay marriage. That said, the organization has declined to give specific details.
Responding Wednesday to a post on the group's official Facebook page by a man named Daniel Coles who said he is "disgusted" by Barkley's dismissal, the organization shed some light on its perspective.
"I'd like to reassure you that the British Red Cross would not ever take a decision to ask a volunteer to relinquish their duties lightly or without very good cause," read the British Red Cross' response. "We cannot discuss individual cases in detail but we want to make it absolutely clear that the Red Cross did not dismiss this volunteer specifically because of the views he has on same-sex marriage."
The organization went on to say that it respects the rights of individuals to hold differing views, so long as those views do not impact the services offered by the British Red Cross.
"Where there are serious concerns that certain attitudes will have – or have had – a negative impact on the way services are delivered to a particular community then the Red Cross has no option but to act," the group wrote.
The group's reasoning for the dismissal isn't known, but former U.K. Tory Minister Ann Widdecombe wrote an op-ed this week withdrawing her support for the British Red Cross and calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to condemn Barkley's forced departure.
(H/T: Charisma News)
Front page image via Shutterstock.com