Human Rights report says protect gay marriage critics

Wed, 19 Jun 2013

Teachers and registrars who disagree with gay marriage need more civil liberty protections, Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights says.

‘Transitional’ safeguards should be introduced for those already employed as registrars, the Committee says in a report released last Friday.

And they said the Government should look at specific protections for teachers who hold a religious belief about same-sex marriage.

Concern

In the report, the Committee said they, “note the particular concern for the position of teachers and civil registrars”.

The report said, “we recommend that the Government reconsider these issues with a view to bringing forward amendments in the House of Lords to put in place transitional arrangements which deal with these concerns for those in post as registrars at the time any legislation is passed”.

The report also said, “we encourage the Government to consider whether specific protections are required for faith schools and for individual teachers who hold a religious belief about same sex marriage”.

Debating

The House of Lords are currently debating amendments to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Many Peers are raising concerns about the effect redefining marriage could have on civil liberties.

Christian registrar Lillian Ladele recently lost her chance to appeal to the grand chamber of the European Court of Human Rights after she was pushed out of her job for believing in traditional marriage.

Conflict

Back in 2003 Miss Ladele told her managers at Islington Council that, should civil partnerships ever become law, she would have a conflict of conscience based upon her Christian beliefs about marriage.

Following the introduction of civil partnerships, Miss Ladele wrote to her employer in 2006 asking for a reasonable accommodation of her religious objection to same-sex civil partnerships.

Islington accepted that it had enough registrars to provide a civil partnership service to the public without requiring Miss Ladele’s involvement.

Demanded

But managers at the council refused her request, and demanded that she carry out civil partnership registrations against her will.

Miss Ladele won her case at an employment tribunal in 2008, but the decision was overturned on appeal.

Subsequent rulings by British courts upheld that finding, before the case went to Europe.

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