The news headlines say he was fired for expressing opposition to same-sex marriage, but by his own admission, Peter Vadala lost his job as a store manager because he believed God wanted him to tell a co-worker that homosexuality is wrong.
And the retailer he worked for says he was fired because he used the word "deviant" to describe homosexuals, and added that he "hates" gay people.
Vadala's story has become a popular topic among conservative activists in recent weeks, who last August lost his job as an assistant manager at a Brookstone outlet at Boston's Logan Airport.
"Man fired for advocating traditional marriage," says a headline at the conservative OneNewsNow site. "Massachusetts man says he was fired for telling colleague her gay marriage is wrong," says the headline at the Fox News site.
But the story the 24-year-old Vadala told Fox News indicates he lost his job for expressing views against homosexuals as a whole, and not against same-sex marriage.
Vadala told Fox News he confronted a Brookstone store manager who was visiting from another location after she repeatedly mentioned her engagement to another woman.
"I found it offensive that she repeatedly brought it up," Vadala said. "By the fourth time she mentioned it, I felt God wanted me to express how I felt about the matter, so I did. But my tone was downright apologetic. I said, 'Regarding your homosexuality, I think that's bad stuff.'"
According to Vadala, the woman replied, "Human resources, buddy — keep your opinions to yourself."
But according to the gay-issues news site Tips-Q, Brookstone says Vadala "used the word 'deviant' with both the manager in question and the Brookstone HR executive. He also referred to "the homosexual lifestyle" and told a co-worker "I hate people like that."
Vadala disputes that he ever said those words. In an interview with Fox News on Monday morning, he said he had not yet decided whether he would pursue a legal case against his former employer.
Fox News quoted Brookstone CEO Ron Boire, who said, "Brookstone is an equal opportunity employer. ... We are proud of our diverse workforce of varying cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds."
"Obviously Christians are excluded from that," Vadala retorted. "I can't believe that [Boire] had the audacity to say something so erroneously false."
Progressive bloggers say Vedala's right to believe whatever he chooses does not extend to criticizing co-workers for their sexual orientation.
"He didn't defend traditional marriage, he didn't attack gay marriage. He told the woman that her homosexuality was wrong," writes James Urbaniak at LiveJournal. "He knew she was gay because she'd mentioned the sex of her fiance but Peter Vadala's issue with her was that she was gay, period. Her marriage was so much icing on her gay cake."
But conservative bloggers insist that the political issue of gay marriage, and not Vedala's actions, are the key issue here.
"This is a chilling example of the ultimate consequences of imposing the concept of same-sex 'marriage' through force of law," says an unsigned posting at the MassResistance blog. "We've certainly seen it coming. What happened to Peter is actually what was intended by the homosexual movement. It's about making people accept what they normally would not accept and punishing those who resist."
This video is from Fox News' Fox & Friends, broadcast Nov. 16, 2009.