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‘Conscientious objection’ amendments to gay rights withdrawn

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  1. In the Hansard report of the debates, Butler-Sloss if reported to have said: “It is interesting that, so far, there is no ability to have an issue of conscience in relation to sexual orientation. ”

    How would that sound Dear Baroness if you had said: “It is interesting that, so far, there is no ability to have an issue of conscience in relation to race/disability. “?

    The good Baroness doesn’t seem to understand that unlike religion, sexual orientation is NOT a matter of choice. It is intrinsic to who the person is. And that is why her amendments are indeed homophobic.

  2. Why not at the same time make it legal for members of the BNP, another minority, the right to discriminate against black and gay people too, if that’s what they believe in – why shouldn’t their beliefs be protected. Why do these vile politicians and unelected lords think christians and muslims should have the right to discriminate against us? – obviously because they want them to. And the fact that this unelected bigoted old bitch is ‘deeply shocked’ at how her ideas could be perceived as homophobic are just further proof that her prejudice is so deeply rooted that she can’t even see it – like a member of the BNP.

  3. What has happened to Butler-Sloss’ logic? If registrars can decide who they are going to be gracious enough to marry/civil partner (which they are paid by us to do) on the basis of personal beliefs, where would it end? Refuse to marry divorcees on the grounds that their religion says they are adulterers? Quiz people as to whether they have had sex before she agrees to marry them? And if you allow them a conscientious objection only relating to gay people, then how is that not sheer homophobia?
    It’s a civil function, religious belief should play no part.

  4. Vincent Poffley 3 Mar 2010, 2:08pm

    Since when was individual “conscience” a valid reason for unjust and illegal discrimination? It’s not admitted as a legal exemption for anything else. Should muslims be allowed an exemption from the homicide laws if they murder an apostate, because they sincerely and conscientiously believe that their religion compels them to do it? Should fundamentalist christians be allowed a conscientious exemption if they murder abortion doctors or gay people, because their religion tells them it is an “abomination” or some such? Should the children of Sikh parents be allowed to bring knives to school just because of their parents’ crazy religious beliefs?

    These sorts of things are just as much “discrimination” against religious people as is not letting them get away with unjust treatment in adoption agencies and marriage administration. Ultimately it must be recognised that ALL religious practices are to be measured against the proper, rational, considered and above all SECULAR ethical standards which form the most civilized, just and effective moral thinking we have. The ossified, bankrupt and archaic morals of crueler ages should have no special claim on the moral conversation, for they carry with them no mechanism for their own refinement and improvement.

  5. Mumbo Jumbo 3 Mar 2010, 2:10pm

    Arfur (comment #3) asked:

    “What has happened to Butler-Sloss’ logic?”


  6. Really? She has always been a strong proponent of gay equality so far as I can remember. Her lack of insight on this issue seems uncharacteristic.

  7. Arfur: It is simply a matter of how people weigh this up. Four priests beats a hand of two pairs of gays every time.

    Why is it nobody on here recognises the inherent power of the Church, and it’s control on government?

  8. “The last Catholic adoption agency in the UK is fighting for the right to bar gay couples at the High Court this week”

    The word ‘last’ is the silver lining in this statement… one left stubbornly standing against the force of inevitable change.

    In my opinion, every catholic agency that’s involved in the welfare of children should be shut, they’ve proven themselves to be anything BUT interested in the welfare of the young and vulnerable. When that’s done they can object all they like for all I care.

  9. Mihangel apYrs 3 Mar 2010, 3:36pm

    religious (mis)use of power has been a corroded thread running through many of the entries on this site, and extensively commented on. The religious control freaks are the great enemy: they not only want to live as they wish, they also want to nail the rest of us into the same frame: this is the “community of interest” that gays (& LBTQ [xyz]) have.

  10. Tim Hopkins 3 Mar 2010, 4:04pm

    Will – unfortunately it’s not the last – there’s also one holding out against the law in Scotland (St Margaret’s in Glasgow).

    The other Scottish one, St Andrew’s in Edinburgh, announced a while ago that it would comply with the law, at which point the Catholic Church cut its links with it. The same has happened for the 9 out of the 12 Catholic agencies there were in England and Wales, which all decided to comply with the law.

  11. If I ever get to have a civil partnership, I wonder if I could get away with demanding that the registrar must be white british born and have no religious beliefs?

  12. Andy Armitage 3 Mar 2010, 4:19pm

    Butler-Sloss says, “All sorts of minorities need protection, not only the minorities who are in same-sex relationships . . . We should be able to accommodate various religions and various cultural beliefs. We are a broadminded society, and the Equality Bill should recognise that too.”

    But religion isn’t a minority, in that people choose it. Being gay is a minority, in that people don’t choose it. To say a religious believer is in a minority – in that sense of the word – is like saying someone who likes pear drops is in a minority, or someone who wears blue shoes. They are minorities, yes, but in this context we’re talking of minorities who are there not by their own volition, and therefore should be treated equally. This doesn’t mean to say we should be bastards to people who wear blue shoes (although I draw the line at pear drops), but they do have the choice.

  13. Agreed with Andy. Lets see, white supremacists are a minority as well – should we try and accomodate their views into the law?

  14. Butler Scloss can’t be serious. ‘Not being complicit with homosexuality’ could mean damn well anything – refusing a hotel room or a table in a restaurant to a couple on Valentine’s Day, denying a house or flat to a gay or lesbian couple, etc etc…
    The God-botherers will always try it on. They have divine authorisation, after all, and don’t want to live with the same rules as the rest of us.

  15. I smell a rat when it comes to Christians who keep challenging civil partnerships in various ways. I’m certain some of this is being orchestrated by extreme Christian groups who have seen the ‘successes’ in the United States. Fortunately Britain is a different place.

    In the case of Ms Ladele, who was mentioned in the Lords, she was born in London to ‘devoutly Christian parents’, had a ‘strict religious’ upbringing in Nigeria and then further ‘education’ in the United States. Well you can just imagine what that involved. The truth is, if you want to live in a Nigerian or US-style society then you should go and live in Nigeria or the United States. Don’t bring this to Britain thank you. We don’t want the clock turned back to the dark ages.

    Playing the poor discriminated-against Christian, Ms Ladele claims to like ‘meeting people at important moments’ in their lives and got on fine with gay colleagues. Oh those Christians who love everyone and are only discriminating out of love you understand…

    And there is this ludicrous idea that a council can have a registrar who refuses to carry out civil partnerships and his/her colleagues will ‘cover’ for it. Well what happens when suddenly the council finds itself with several registrars who have these views, it can’t function and gay and lesbian couples end up being turned away?

    Back in 1983 I had an experience where my doctor, on discovering that my partner was a man, told me I should get myself another doctor. I’m determined there will be no return to those days.

    I’m not anti-immigration but I believe we need to be cautious about admitting a large number of people who have views that don’t fit with our tolerant modern society because, eventually, that bigotry will filter down into politics pressure groups.

  16. coemgenus 3 Mar 2010, 6:23pm

    The “holier than thou” Ms Ladele was also the mother of an illegitimate child ….. but I suppose Gawd forgave her for that.

  17. You are quite right, Gary. Isn’t it strange that most of these bigots are fundamentalist Christians. Both registrars at Islington were such, as was the counsellor from Relate who was dismissed for refusing to counsel gay couples. Similarly, those who have been fighting last-ditch attempts to prevent gay marriage in Washington DC have been fundamentalist Christians. But when we consider the virulent, violent homophobia found in such African countries as Uganda we can see what the situation is. Such people, as you suggest, who had such illiberal views should not be permitted to enter the country.

  18. Mihangel apYrs: “The religious control freaks are the great enemy: they not only want to live as they wish, they also want to nail the rest of us into the same frame”

    You obviously cannot distinguish between “Bible-bashers” and “The Church” – The Church should really be called “God Ltd.” – It is essentially a business peddling magic spells and cure-alls for all ills. Do not confuse faith with religion. Idiots that go around quoting the bible are invariably harmless idiots. The Church is an entirely different matter, with members in very high places with considerable money and considerable influence. They are not to be underestimated, and I think they have played a key part in why Gay Marriage is not on the books. Labour were allowed to go as far as they could without stepping on ecclesiastical toes.

    As Father Jack would say: “It’s an ecumenical matter”.

  19. RobN – bible-bashers are a lot of the church so there isn’t any difference
    religion is all about faith

    I’m glad these amendments failed

  20. Chester: Oh, but you are so wrong. Don’t be so naive. God works in mysterious ways, apparently. I have no problem in people having a faith. It’s when it is organised, controlled, dictated and directed at others that do not have that same faith, that is the difference.

  21. explain how I’m naive then RobN please
    many claim religion is all about faith

  22. “many claim religion is all about faith”

    While its not something I would normally do, I actually agree with RobN on this, Chester. Faith is a personal belief. Religion on the other hand is the organised coercion of the masses to homogenise their faith for the purpose of controlling them.

    Look at the Catholic church: the bible they use is heavily selective, rejecting the “apocrypha gospels” of people like St Paul founder of the church himself, as they don’t fit their homogenised view of what faith should be. Their church is nothing like the original church followers of Jesus, its been warped for purpose of power and wealth.

    Faith is nothing to do with religion, that’s just what those who run religions want you to believe, simply becuase it suits their aims. Religion is about people and those people who want to control wealth, subjugate, thought manipulation, create obedience, and maintain the status duo. Faith can be what ever you want it to be! That’s the difference.

  23. Gary said:”I smell a rat when it comes to Christians who keep challenging civil partnerships in various ways. I’m certain some of this is being orchestrated by extreme Christian groups who have seen the ’successes’ in the United States.”

    You’re right, Gary. And I believe that these UK (but US funded/aided) groups are also used to reinforce discrimination in the US. Before the Prop 8 vote, I watched a video against gay marriage supposedly by a UK Christian group warning how ‘dreadful’ it was in the UK because we had CPs, and how California should beware. Yet further investigation found that this ‘UK’ group was a US-funded one with a UK face, so to speak. This way, the gullible can be persuaded a) that same sex unions don’t work and are demonstrably bad; and b)that the prejudice and bigotry in the US is just a common fear shared by many other people in the world.

    Andy Armitage – you’ve hit the nail on the head. Personally, I think religion should NOT be included in Equality Legislation. I believe that only non-choices should be included – eg gender, age, race, sexuality, disability. A separate legislation could be drawn up covering beliefs, with religion not given any special protection above others. Of course, then people will worry that someoen with racist beliefs may demand that they’re protected, but if the Equality Law was higher than the Beliefs Law that wouldn’t be the case. To take an extreme view, someone might genuinely believe that they should kill another person (because the person’s done some awful thing or whatever), but we don’t exempt them from the Law just because they have a strongly-held belief. I detest the way religion (or, at least, some proponents) demand that the Law not apply to them.

  24. Never thought I’d hear myself saying it, but “Thanks Will.” You basically said it a lot better than I could have.

    If one looks at all the wars, the deaths, the witch hunts – So much of this was organised and instigated not by individuals with a similar belief, as a highly organised and disciplined force behind them that somehow manages to dictate ‘The Word of God’ to the gullible masses who then go out to do their bidding. This applies to Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and all the various sects, castes and collections of nutcases from The Holy Roman Empire right down to the Waco siege bombers.

    The Vatican holds more ancient books than anywhere in the world, but few are privy to read them. There is a theory that there is a fifth gospel, written by Christ himself (written during his 40 day disappearance), but apparently this would dispel an awful lot of the Catholic churches power, so it is kept buried so the lambs will never really know the truth.

  25. “Never thought I’d hear myself saying it, but “Thanks Will.” You basically said it a lot better than I could have.”

    Well, if we can agree on something, there’s hope for humanity yet! :)

  26. Will – I agree abou it being for power and control
    but faith and religion are tied togethor so it’s unrealistic to say otherwise

  27. “but faith and religion are tied togethor so it’s unrealistic to say otherwise”

    No, its not. You can have religion without faith and faith without religion. They are only tied together in those who believe the propaganda.

  28. The intentions are good but the Equality Act sounds like becoming a real dogs dinner. The courts will just keep sending it back to the government of the day for clarification and/or amendments.

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