A Christian doctor in the United Kingdom who lost his job with the British government almost 5 years ago over a hypothetical scenario that referred to "a six-foot-tall bearded man" as "madam," is appealing his firing once again after he was vindicated by the country's General Medical Council (GMC).
As CBN's Faithwire reported in December of 2022, Dr. David Mackereth, had worked as an emergency doctor for the National Health Service for 26 years. He told a tribunal he was removed from his job with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in late June 2018 after being "interrogated" about his personal religious convictions by his boss, James Owen, according to The Telegraph.
The 56-year-old physician said Owen asked him, "If you have a man six-foot-tall with a beard who says he wants to be addressed as 'she' and 'Mrs.,' would you do that?"
Mackereth said he would not use transgender pronouns and claimed during the hearing he was ultimately fired "not because of any realistic concerns over the rights and sensitivities of transgender individuals, but because of my refusal to make an abstract ideological pledge."
In response, the DWP declared that failing to accommodate clients' preferences would amount to "harassment" under the U.K. Equality Act 2010 and fired Mackereth from his role as a health and disability assessor, according to U.K. watchdog Christian Concern.
Represented by Christian Legal Centre attorneys, Mackereth sued the DWP but lost his case before the Employment Tribunal. Even though the verdict was partially overturned by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in May of 2022, the Tribunal ruled the DWP's firing of Mackereth was valid. It was later upheld by the Court of Appeal.
Then Mackereth referred his case to the GMC, an independent council that keeps a medical database and works to improve medical education and practice across the country. He asked the council to determine whether his fitness to practice is impaired due to his Christian beliefs about gender.
The GMC responded in an official letter to the doctor this week, taking the exact opposite view of his former employer, Christian Concern said in a press release.
The GMC letter said, "We have carefully assessed all the information you kindly provided which includes the decisions of the employment tribunal, the employment appeal tribunal and the Court of appeal.
"In doing so we don't believe this is an issue requiring further GMC action being taken with a view to removing or restricting your registration.
"Although your views might be considered contentious, we haven't seen evidence to suggest that patient safety is at risk from the information provided nor that your fitness to practice is impaired."
In addition, the GMC said, "In our view it would not be proportionate to consider what might happen in a hypothetical situation such as if you were to be approached by a transgender patient for instance and we could not open an investigation on this basis."
The medical council concluded its letter by saying there is no evidence to indicate Mackereth gave inappropriate advice or care to patients based on his view
After exhausting all legal avenues in the U.K., Mackereth has now filed an application for his case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The ECHR is an international court of the Council of Europe that interprets the European Convention on Human Rights. Established in 1959, the court has jurisdiction over 46 member states that make up the Council of Europe.
Mackereth's application asks the court to address "questions it has never to date reviewed; that being the Convention implications surrounding compelled speech and forced adherence to gender identity belief as a condition of employment."
His application to the ECHR also claims his right to freedom of expression (Article 10) has been violated by the U.K. courts.
A response to the doctor's application to the European court is expected in six months, according to the Christian Legal Centre.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said the nonprofit law group is "determined to fight all the way to secure justice in this case."
"David Mackereth's case challenged the sanity of our society, and our society was found wanting," Williams said in a press release.
"More must be done to recognize and protect the freedom of professionals with Christian and gender critical beliefs on these issues to use their professional judgment without fear of severe and unjust ramifications," she said.
"Dr. Mackereth chose to sacrifice his distinguished professional career rather than compromise on the Bible and his conscience. The requirement to use transgender pronouns defies common sense and Christian faith," Williams continued.
"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," she said.