Fired fire chief wins $1.2 million settlement defending free speech and traditional marriage

Fired fire chief wins $1.2 million settlement defending free speech and traditional marriage

The Faith The State
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[LifeSiteNews] A former “Fire Chief of the Year” who lost his job after publishing a book about Christianity in which he upheld Biblical teachings on marriage and sexuality — perceived by some to be “anti-gay” — has won a $1.2 million settlement from the city of Atlanta, his former employer.

VIDEO: [Alliance Defending Freedom] Atlanta Georgia Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran tells his story [2017]


“Great day for the Chief,” trumpeted a tweet from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).  “1.2 mill settlement after yrs of unnecessary legal battle for his right to live out faith and #speech in city of Atlanta.”

While this is a welcome win for Kelvin Cochran and the cause of religious liberty, it is not a decisive vindication.

The city attorney conducted an extensive review of the case “and concluded that the cost of continuing to defend against the lawsuit would far exceed the cost to settle,” according to a Daily Journal report. And while Atlanta’s city council voted 11-3 in favor of the settlement, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has yet to sign off on the settlement.

“The government can’t force its employees to get its permission before they engage in free speech. It also can’t fire them for exercising that First Amendment freedom, causing them to lose both their freedom and their livelihoods,” said Kevin Theriot, the ADF attorney who represented Cochran.

“We are very pleased that the city is compensating Chief Cochran as it should, and we hope this will serve as a deterrent to any government that would trample upon the constitutionally protected freedoms of its public servants,” added Theriot.

The Fire Chief had sued the city and mayor for firing him three years ago after he wrote and self-published a book on his own time that defended male/female marriage while describing homosexual behavior as one of the perversions listed in the Bible.

In the suit, he claimed that he had been discriminated against for his religious beliefs.

“It’s ironic that the city points to tolerance and inclusion as part of its reasoning,” Cochran said at the time.  “What could be more intolerant and exclusionary than ending a public servant’s 30 years of distinguished service for his religious beliefs?”

“I was really surprised that writing a book — a Christian men’s bible study — 162 pages encouraging men to be the husbands and fathers and leaders that God has called us to be would put me in an adverse position against the city of Atlanta because of a few pages I wrote explaining biblical marriage and biblical sexuality,” said Cochran in an ADF video about the case.

This article continues at [LifeSiteNews] VICTORY: Fire chief sacked by city after defending Biblical marriage wins $1.2 million in lawsuit

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