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Employment tribunal told civil partnerships not “God-ordained”

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  1. sarah hill 21 May 2008, 3:15pm

    I write to express surprise that Ms Lillian Ladele a Christian registrar is claiming that “as a matter of religious conscience” she can not perform civil partnerships for gay couples.

    I write as a practising evangelical Christian myself, as well as a straight woman in full time Christian work.

    As far as I neither am aware these civil ceremonies make in them no mention of consummation – nor are any sexual acts performed as part of the ceremony – which could understandable offend anyone – let alone Ms Ladele!

    When the civil partnership legislation first came into being the House of Bishops of the Church of England stated (July 2005) that:

    “The House of Bishops does not regard entering into a civil partnership as intrinsically incompatible with holy orders…” continuing “…considers that lay people who have registered civil partnerships ought not to be asked to give assurances about the nature of their relationship before being admitted to baptism, confirmation and communion.”

    They also explained for clarification.
    The legislation does, however, leave entirely open the nature of the commitment that members of a couple choose to make to each other when forming a civil partnership. In particular, it is not predicated on the intention to engage in a sexual relationship.

    I entirely fail to see why Ms Ladele considers performing these legal and civil registrations to be in any way incompatible with her Christian faith. I doubt her role involves questioning the participants as to the sexual or non-sexual nature of their relationship.

    If the House of Bishops don’t see a problem I don’t really see why Ms Ladele does.

    I imagine she might be offended herself if other registrars objected to performing, for example, mixed race marriages: yet there remain Christians who continue to firmly believe that such marriages are contrary to the clear teaching of scripture.

    Church history shows us that it is only God who remains the same yesterday, today and forever, whilst the Church and its understanding moves with the times!

    Yours faithfully,

    Sarah Hill

  2. As a gay man I do believe that religious organizations have a right to say yes or no to gay marriage. If someone or a place does not agree with me then I move on and find someone who holds my beliefs. To strong arm people into acceptance (which is against their moral convictions) is just wrong. It only creates more people who will defend and stubbornly stand out against gays and lesbians.

    Change takes time and it’s as the LGBTQ community shows and demonstrates that we are just like one of them that hearts will be changed. It as well takes people of faith in the gay community to say I am a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and live their faith actively that faith communities begin to change. And for those who hold another belief well they are entitled to that belief for that is the luxury of living in a free country.

  3. But we are not talking about Ms Ladele’s right to an opinion are we? This woman is a public servant. She is obliged to offer her services equally to all sections of the community. If she cannot do that, then she should resign.

  4. So if she wins will she also be able to refuse to a person registering the death of his or her civil partner?

  5. William - Dublin 21 May 2008, 8:02pm

    I agree with David. She is in a public service position. The law is quite clear on her duties. If she is unable to follow the law, then she should not be in a civil service position, perhaps waiting tables is more suited to her mental capacity.

    If she refused to marry a mixed race couple, would that be okay? I think not. If she can produce god in court, and he tells us all she’s right, THEN I’ll believe her. Faith should be kept to ones self, and the onus is on people who claim to know gods “will” to discriminate against gay people to produce the proof… and a few stories in a dusty book is not proof, no more then harry Potter is proof of witchcraft.

    Personally, people who think they know what god “wants” are nothing more then delusional… psychiatric institutions are full of people who are locked up for that very reason.

  6. David Griff 22 May 2008, 2:02am

    She has no right to pick and choose who she serves, she is a public servant. Barristers and Magistrates aren’t allowed such a luxury. Religion as a declining institution seems to want to hold on to what it is. The Courts need to set out once and for all and categorically say that public servants cannot and will not pick and choose their cases.

  7. Robert, ex-pat Brit 22 May 2008, 11:12am

    A spokesman told The Times that Ms Ladele’s case was about religious liberty.

    “Other occupations allow conscientious objections,” he said.

    “No homosexual couple is being denied their right to marriage, because other registrars are performing them.”

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, excuse me, last time I checked no homosexual in the UK has the right to marry, although we should. She should understand that civil partnerships are NOT marriages, never will be. How would this woman like it if she were refused services because gay people didn’t like her christian “lifestyle”. NO religious denomination or any of its adherents should have the right to discriminate, they are not above the law. To pander to these groups by exempting them from laws that conflict with their beliefs is wrong and sends a clear message that discrimination is acceptable. If they want to persist in this, then we should revisit their right to free speech condemning our lives and who we are. Religion is a choice, a personal choice and therefore has no place in the workplace or public life. It belongs within the confines of the home, nowhere else. These people have to stop shoving their bigotry down our throats, let alone their religion. Why doesn’t she go find a job in her church, maybe she can arrange the flowers, clean and dust the pews, far more suitable I think.

  8. “I hold the orthodox Christian view that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life to the exclusion of all others…”

    I wonder if she refused to perform marriage services for heterosexual couples when one or both were divorced then?

    Somehow I doubt it.

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