Religious beliefs exempt worker from supporting pro-gay union

BY Advocate.com Editors

June 11 2003 11:00 PM ET

An electrical worker employed by Lockheed Martin at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida has settled a civil rights lawsuit against his local union that allows him to stop paying union dues because he disagrees with the organization's pro-gay stance. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the dispute, which began three years ago, pitted Robert Beers against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents workers at the station. Beers claimed that the union's stance on homosexuality and abortion conflicted with his religious beliefs and argued that he shouldn't be obligated to fund the union. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation represented Beers when he filed his complaint in October 2001. Foundation vice president Stefan Gleason said Tuesday that the recent settlement allows Beers to continue working at Lockheed but exempts him from supporting the union. Though Florida law allows employees to decline union membership, state law doesn't apply at Canaveral, which is a federal enclave.

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