Discrimination is legal, as long as you’re religious

Imagine the scene. A public official, a judge for example, is visited by two people who want to get married. The bride is white, the groom is Indian. The official refuses to marry them since he belongs to a religion that considered mix-raced marriages to be an abomination unto the lord. This is perfectly legal, the official’s right to discriminate is protected by the law. This is a hypothetical example and certainly not legal.

The Conservative government of Canada is alleged to be planning on introducing a “Defence of Religions Act. This would allow public officials to refuse to perform same-sex marriages if their religion tells that it is an abomination unto the lord. Human rights are taking a back seat to religious sensibilities. People can be denied their legal right simply because some idiot doesn’t want to upset the invisible friend in the sky. I wonder what will happen if an official claims that asians are demons? If that official refuses to marry asians, can the official enjoy the same legal protection that homophobes will?


4 Responses to “Discrimination is legal, as long as you’re religious”

  1. Gerrit Says:

    The Progressive Netherlands had the same situation several years ago: a gay couple wanted to get married but the civil servant refused. Yes, sack him, whatever, the situation changed a bit when it became clear that several colleagues of that colleague volunteered for the job, but the gay couple INSISTED that thát servant should marry them. That changed the mood quite a bit. Lesson learned: gays can also be assholes. Consider the following situation: should a prisoner be able to choose between judges? So it would be possible for him to choose a judge who is against the death-penalty?

  2. Sean Kehoe Says:

    I think someone who is appointed to carry out a law must do so. The only possible exception I can think of is when a state employee is asked to do something that is either illegal or contrary to international human rights agreements. i.e. a solider ordered to deliberately attack civilians. A state employee refusing to carry out a gay wedding is comparable to them refusing to officiate over a mixed-race wedding.

    A prisoner shouldn’t be allowed to chose their judge but legally they could have a case if the judge chosen is known to have a strong bias. i.e. the judge is presiding over a race related crime but they themselves are a member of an extreme far-right group. Even if the judge claims to be free of bias, it’s important that people feel that justice is fair.

    I don’t think they should push for this bigot to carry out their wedding since that just cheapens what should be a special day. They should allow another to carry out the service but register a strong complaint about the original guy.

  3. Gerrit Says:

    So the fact that someone who is religious and has done her job well for over 40 years, means that one (1) gay couple can force her to either abandon her religion, or quit her job. That same son she brought up lovingly and accepting him being gay, despite her religion and the bias of the congregation. Oh well. You’re right, it just spoils the mood a bit too much.

  4. Sean Kehoe Says:

    Doesn’t matter really how long she’s done the job or the number of gay children she’s raised What matters is that she is refusing to perform a marriage for totally irrational reasons. It’s no different to refusing to marry a couple because they are black.

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