We demand ‘no exemption’ for registrars in same sex marriage

March 18, 2013

The Humanist Society Scotland (HSS) challenges the calls for a conscience clause to allow registrars not to conduct same sex marriages when they become legally available.

On the day the charity submits its response to the Scottish Government’s proposed bill on Same Sex Marriage, HSS spokesman Ross Wright said that equal treatment before the law should be the guiding principle.

‘In a modern liberal democracy, there can be no “opt out” for civil servants who say they are unable to do their jobs because they wish to discriminate, just because their desire to discriminate derives from a religious belief. In the same way that it would be unthinkable to allow a gay registrar to refuse to marry a religious couple, it should be unthinkable to allow religious belief to dictate the provision of a public service’.

That principle in law was ultimately established in January 2013 when
the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Lillian Ladele, who had
refused to perform Civil Partnership ceremonies when she worked as a
Registrar for Islington Council.

The HSS – which is the third
largest wedding provider in Scotland – looks forward to the day when
same sex couples can get married in the philosophy or religion of their
choice, and is training more celebrants to meet the continually
increasing demand for Humanist Weddings.

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