Monday, May 19, 2008

All are Equal in The Eyes of God?

Thanks to Current Awareness for pointing out this story in the Daily Telegraph: "A registrar is taking her employer to a tribunal this week to determine whether she can refuse to officiate at homosexual “weddings” because of her religious beliefs." Any regular reader of Family Lore will not be surprised to learn that I am completely with the council on this one. No one should have the right to discriminate, particularly not someone in a public position such as a registrar, and using religion as an excuse to do so is no defence.

4 comments:

  1. The report on McClintock, the family magistrate who wished an exemption from same sex adoptions, is worth a read in relation to this case.

    http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/2007/0223_07_3110.html

    It's interesting to see what the result will be - in McClintock the discrimination was justified by reference to the magistrate's duty to his judicial oath, but the duties of a registrar are likely to be less emphatically stated. This trickles down to other public and private employees - what if I were not the registrar, but an admin worker at the registry office. If, say, 5% of my time is spent administering civil partnerships and I object to it on religious grounds, will a claim of justification by the LA be so easy given the simplicity of distributing the work to my colleagues?

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  2. Thanks for that. I was thinking of the McClintock case when I wrote the post, but didn't have time to look it up. Yes, it will be interesting to see what the result will be.

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  3. Victor Dewsbery22 May 2008 at 10:23

    If we take conscience seriously (and I, for one, do), there is a problem here.
    In some cases, the problem can be solved by redistributing work or by saying "I am merely processing this person's paperwork, and I can ignore the way he/she chooses to live". But if my work involves some form of active contribution (and especially the need to make some sort of comment in free text form, e.g. as a judge or registrar), then it is important to have some arrangements to preserve freedom of conscience. Not only for the person suffering the qualms of conscience - if I were forced to solemnise a homosexual "wedding", I would do a very bad job of it (in the eyes of the couple) because of my moral objections to it. I don't mind if you call me wrong or intolerant, but the couple would be better satisfied if someone else did the job.

    I have refused translation jobs for similar reasons of conscience, although the circumstances were not so drastic (as a freelance, I am not bound by the instructions of any employer so I am always free to accept or reject jobs).

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  4. If your 'conscience' prevents you from doing your job, then you should resign.

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