More than 25,000 people signed a petition in August to reinstate a Christian bus driver who was suspended for refusing to drive a bus decked in pro-Pride slogans.
The unnamed bus driver, working for Konect buses in Norwich, was suspended from his job and is facing a disciplinary hearing after he refused to drive a bus which the company had themed with rainbow colours in support of a local Pride march.
According to various media reports, when the driver saw that the bus he was rostered to drive had been adorned with rainbow branding, he voiced his objection and switched to another vehicle.
But a 19-year-old student overheard his remarks and, not satisfied with reporting the man to the front desk, took a photograph of the man, which escalated the situation on social media. The bus driver was later suspended.
Konect, which is owned by Go East Anglia, launched an investigation into the driver’s actions. A statement said, ‘Go East Anglia prides itself on values that support diversity and inclusion and has been a champion of Norwich Pride since 2017’.
The petition, created by pan-European advocacy organisation CitizenGo, had already garnered 25,000 signatures in the first couple of weeks after the news broke.
However, CitizenGo warned the social media furore created by the 19-year-old passenger ‘could potentially lead to reprisals for him and his family’.
In a statement, CitizenGo commented, ‘The driver was not expressing any hatred or offensive remarks towards the LGBT community, or any one individual, but simply exercising his own conscience rights when it comes to being forced to promote a political ideology with which he disagrees’.