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UK: Anti-gay Christians take their case to the European court

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  1. Its got nothing to do with with your faith, it has to do with your bigotry. Others of the same faith accept gay people therefore you are only acting on your own internal hatred. Thats what the courts have been saying if you only chose to listen.

    1. Since when, did these people ever listen to anything that doesn’t fit their narrow, hate-filled version of the truth?

      1. Paddyswurds 4 Sep 2012, 7:26pm

        They had better start learning then, because the law says they must do their job without discrimination… Can’t wait for the verdict, frankly.

    2. sjames6621@yahoo.com 28 Sep 2012, 8:39am

      fat chance they will listen – they have been brainwashed almost from birth to believe in life after death as a reward and burning in hell as a punishment.

      These type of xtians are rotten stinking people who should be dropped off in Iran or Saudi land with their bibles

      the enemy of the western worlds al-qaida would go to their ultimate destiny and unfortunately not find out that the whole thing is a gobbels lie

  2. Every job i have applied for has said that you must comply with the charities equality policy. Even Islington council has a equality policy that states “Customers receive fair and equal access to council services” & that “All employees are expected to promote these values at all times and to work within the policy. Employees found to be in breach of this policy may face disciplinary action.” So the registrar who wouldn’t perform civil partnerships was in breach of her employers policy and her job description. How can these cases even be looked at in the European courts, its a waste of time.

  3. I know plenty of people who wear a cross and imagine this, share meals with me, work with me, talk on the phone with me, hug me and treat me like a human being. You lost your job because you discriminated.

    1. GulliverUK 4 Sep 2012, 1:46pm

      If a cross is a contamination hazard in a hospital – take it off. If not, leave it on, I don’t care, it doesn’t take anything away from me. I’ll wear a pink t-shirt saying “Pinko and Proud” ! :) …. or a rainbow coloured cross in honour of gay Christians, and their beliefs.

      1. PantoHorse 4 Sep 2012, 2:03pm

        That’s partly the argument, the cross-contamination issue. Which wasn’t a case for the BA woman, so her case was probably wrongly decided and she should have been allowed to wear her cross.

        1. With the lady from BA she left work because they had a rule that banned you from wearing anything around your neck. When the policy was changed in 2007 she returned, but was not paid for the months she was not at work. Because of that she tried to sue BA for religious discrimination, but the case went against her.

  4. GulliverUK 4 Sep 2012, 1:42pm

    The government said long ago there could be no exemptions. Christians could just as easily say letting a married couple who are not of the same ethnic group, or faith, could be refused accommodation. Mormons could discriminate against black couples. Any group could claim their “deeply held beliefs” give them the right to discriminate. The equality act is about stopping discrimination, and making us all work together, as one society. “deeply held beliefs” is a nonsense term – I’m sure some have deeply held beliefs about a lot of things, they don’t have to be based on religious stories told thousands of years ago. They cannot be allowed to win – it would throw the law into complete chaos.

    1. PantoHorse 4 Sep 2012, 2:21pm

      That’s not what is being contested here. It’s not about how deeply she holds her belief or refusing goods and services based upon sexual orientation.

      It’s about her being discriminated against by being forced to carry out civil partnerships and how that impedes upon her rights to hold those religious beliefs. She asked not to be designated a CP registrar long before the law changed, but Islington did it anyway – it didn’t need to, it just needed to make sure there were enough CP registrars. Ladele says it did so without regard to the material difference between her circumstances and the other registrars: the conscientious objections she had, based on her religious beliefs, thus discrimination against her specifically for holding a religious belief.

      http://bit.ly/Q3w6WP

      1. GulliverUK 4 Sep 2012, 2:38pm

        They had every right to require her to fulfil her duties in full, and if you watch the government barrister making his case, you can clearly see there is no right to manifest religion at work, and there are clearly different views within her faith over the matter.

        She was in a position where she could have applied for other positions which would have removed the conflict, she was not being deprived of her employment because she could have applied for other jobs. Employees don’t have a right to practice their religion at work. You don’t get to insist on having your employment conditions changed just because you want them changed. There is plenty of existing case law clearly showing this. Employees are free to resign if their jobs goes against their religious beliefs — that is how religious beliefs are protected.

        1. PantoHorse 4 Sep 2012, 3:02pm

          Her duties, at the time she was appointed a registrar, did not include CPs and Islington did not have to force her to do so. That’s her argument – section 14 protects her right not to be discriminated against because of her religious beliefs and that’s what’s at play here. The defence aren’t saying she was stopped from manifesting her religious beliefs – manifestation of religion, imo, has no place at all in the workplace (particularly as a registrar in civil office). They are saying she was discriminated against just because she’s religious and Islington had no legitimate aim in doing so. That the law is contradictory around protection against discrimination for LGBT and religious people is testament to the amount of influence religion still holds over law and life. Equality can only come through secularlity.

      2. PantoHorse 4 Sep 2012, 2:47pm

        “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble,… “the law is a ass—a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.” Dickens: Oliver Twist.

        I’m not saying it’s right, just that that’s what the law (ECHR sections 9 and 14) appears to say. And probably has a lot to do with the number of influential religious people we have tweaking their laws to their own ends.

      3. ‘…It’s about her being discriminated against by being forced to carry out civil partnerships and how that impedes upon her rights to hold those religious beliefs…’

        what validate particular religious belief? is justification of slavery in new and old testaments a valid religious belief? if not, why not?

        1. Ben Foster 4 Sep 2012, 7:38pm

          We’ve been told time and again that CPs are the same as marriae in all but name. Therefore, she should have no right to do civil marriages and not civil partnerships.

        2. PantoHorse 4 Sep 2012, 8:34pm

          That’s not the argument here. It’s about the contradiction in the ECHR that gives religion precedent over human rights

          1. right to religion is a human right, this case is about whether religion should aquire superiority when in conflict with other human rights

  5. No sympathy!

    When you submit your CV for a position your hired on the basis of a fit for the situation, not your religion!

    If you then choose to “refuse” outlined tasks “your designated responsibilities” (other than perhaps safety issue) You may feel you have a grievance… unfortunately it is not it’s insubordination! sufficient reason for discipline or dismissal.

    It’s your job! you refuse to do it or compromise…. you can “choose: to look for an alternate appropriate position or be fired!

  6. Pavlos Prince of Greece 4 Sep 2012, 1:57pm

    Christian Concern conscious talks about ‘discrimination against Christian minority’. Very old tactic – take an argument from opposite site and use as own. A ‘little’ difference is anyway, that LGBT minority have not the Head of the British State and 26 Lords as a ‘members’, can not demonstrate own ‘believes’ in the streets of town in Kent without risk and when their ‘ideological leader’ comes with visit to the UK, this visit is not funding with money of all taxpayers. Poor Christians, I know.

    1. sjames6621@yahoo.com 28 Sep 2012, 8:41am

      this is just the same old game of the discriminators claiming to be the discriminated against.

      they dug their own grave. Let them go to work for their church. And time to end even one penny of state support for their churches

      Expect more yelling and screaming by the trash of our society.

  7. PantoHorse 4 Sep 2012, 1:57pm

    In the Ladele case, it’s not as simple as ‘the law says no discrimination and that applies to you too. Have a read of this Law Society Gazette article:

    http://bit.ly/Q3w6WP

    This bit in particular:

    Ladele has secured the services of Dinah Rose QC as her leading counsel… Rose stresses that, contrary to the information note published by the Strasbourg court, Ladele’s case is not based on article 9 alone. That is not because the court’s case law on article 9 cases is against her, she explains. It is because her case is based on religious discrimination rather than interference with the freedom to manifest a religious belief.

    To understand this, we need to look at article 14 of the convention. Despite the heading ‘prohibition of discrimination’, article 14 does not introduce a standalone ban. It simply extends the other rights and freedoms in the convention by requiring them to be ‘secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion’ and so on.

    1. PantoHorse 4 Sep 2012, 2:00pm

      So, in effect, they are contending that the prohibition of discrimination secured was only secured by discriminating against Ladele’s religious beliefs. Which article 14 says you can’t do.

      Will be interesting to see what the outcome is.

      1. GulliverUK 4 Sep 2012, 2:41pm

        The outcome will be that they will lose, quite rightly. The serious consequences to the entire economy if Christians, or anyone else, were allowed a free reign to do as they please at work would be devastating. The crosses I don’t care about, they don’t affect me, I can avert my eyes from jewellery, but refusal of goods and services is a no-no. Besides, I’m listening to the podcast now and the government case appears very solid.

        1. PantoHorse 4 Sep 2012, 3:32pm

          Good, I’m glad they have a solid case – I want to see her lose. The problem, as I see it, is that currently the ECHR says we can have human rights as long as there is no religious discrimination – religion trumps equality. Ladele is using that in her favour and for her to lose would be another loophole closed (and another one in the eye for the bigots) and that’s what I’ve been saying….

          1. so jehova witness doctor could refuse to carry out blood transfusion as doing so would be against his religious belief?

          2. PantoHorse 4 Sep 2012, 8:37pm

            Read the case Kane. She’s arguing between two points of law in the European Convention of Human Rights and the fact that one of them, article 14, allows religious interests to be taken into account when making judgements.

            Jehovas Witnesses have not been mentioned.

          3. this case is about setting the principle, denomination is irrelevant here

    2. The problem with this is that if she wins anyone can claim anything they like as a religious expression and therefore circumvent the equality laws. We would end up with a situation where people could pick and chose what bits of their job they wanted to do and claim religious exception from the rest.

      I see a simply option, have a 2 tier registrar pay scale. Those willing to do the full job get the full pay, those willing to only provide half the types of registrations that are legal get half. Not a small reduction, half.

      1. PantoHorse 4 Sep 2012, 2:29pm

        I don’t think her winning will set a precedent for anyone to claim anything they like – they’d have to have a large body of evidence to back it up, credible evidence too. I wouldn’t be able to claim that being a Jedi, for instance, meant I couldn’t work past 5pm or on days where dark forces were operating, I’d be laughed out of my boss’ office.

        Rather it will say more about rights for different groups impeding upon one another and ultimately how groups with conflicting beliefs deal with those conflicts.

        1. Whats the difference? People of the same religion as her ARE willing to ‘marry’ gay people because they interpret things differently, she chose to interpret her religion in a discriminatory fashion, its her problem. Could she refuse to wear a uniform because it contains mixed fibres? The fact is there is no credible evidence that supports her beliefs. That’s kind of the point here.

          1. Paddyswurds 4 Sep 2012, 7:00pm

            ……Or a religiously deluded waitress could refuse to serve shellfish, or a Hindu could refuse to serve someone steak and on and on almost infinitely. As someone else said, it would become impossible to govern or run the country if this becomes law.Are we to be allowed to go to the next door county a nd carry away people as slaves as the bible asserts we may, may i pick up stones and stone my neighbour to death when I see him tend his farm on a Sunday, or kill someone who enters the temple wit glasses on as it is an abomination to so do with bad eyesight. The idea that we should have regard to peoples notions and foibles and make laws protecting them is absurd, end of. How do we prove for instance that there is actually sincere religious belief or even adherence to a particular faith and should we legislate with regard to all the different faiths?
            The very notion is ridiculous and any judge in the world who thinks different should not be a judge….

        2. umm, being “laughed out of the office” for saying you are a Jedi WOULD be religious discrimination.

          The number of people who mark “Jedi” as religious belief on census data in various countries is important enough that it would have to be accepted as a legitimate expression of faith. Regardless of how silly one might think it is.

          You cannot base treatment of a faith on judgment of the beliefs themselves. You are obligated to accept that a faith “exists”. Period. Else one could then discriminate against a Catholic, by arguing inconsistencies in the Catholic faith.

          The faith exists. Period. Regardless of the veracity, reality, or probability of the faith being based in “fact”. (which we know they are not.. and again, that would be irrelevant).

        3. Cardinal Capone 4 Sep 2012, 2:49pm

          That’s just a straw man, but it could for example mean that a nurse who is a Jehovas Witness could refuse to carry out certain tasks within the hospital, such as those relating to a transfusion or transplant.

          It would create a totally subjective and largely arbitrary element to people’s duty to carry out their job.

        4. bobbleobble 4 Sep 2012, 3:23pm

          I totally disagree with your point about precedent. If Christian teaching was that no Christian were allowed to provide any form of service to LGBT people and that was strictly enforced then I would agree that this could amount to religious discrimination by forcing them to do so. However, that isn’t the case. What McFarlane and Ladele want is to be allowed to apply their own interpretation of their religion within the workplace. That is an extremely dangerous precedent to set.

          1. Exactly. And what p*sses me off about Ms Ladele is that I’m sure she had no problem marrying divorcees, which is clearly against her beliefs (the Bible counts remarried divorcees as adulterers), nor did she have any problem with marrying atheists or people of religions other than her own. No, she only had a problem with gay people….

      2. Coemgenus 4 Sep 2012, 6:02pm

        I note that her sincerely held religious beliefs didn’t stop her having a child out of wedlock.

  8. GulliverUK 4 Sep 2012, 2:03pm

    http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.aspx?i=001-111187

    ^ this is the ECHR court submission for the lillian ladele and gary mcfarlane

    In the case of both of them, they knew long before that Civil Partnerships were proposed, and then passed. It was a couple of years before they came in to conflict with it. They had plenty of time to move to other areas of work which didn’t bring them in to conflict.

    The only reason for bringing the cases to court in the first place is to change the law – something they can only do by creating ‘case’ law. By creating case law they could circumvent the intentions of the law itself.

    1. PantoHorse 4 Sep 2012, 3:26pm

      Ladele winning would not change the law and that’s not why she has brought the case – her winning would uphold the ECHR. She has brought the case to uphold the fact that contradictions in the ECHR mean religion can trump equality – it would uphold the bit of the ECHR, section 14, that says the other freedoms in the convention should be secured without discrimination on any grounds, including religion. i.e. religion, if discrimination can be proven, can still trump equality (or human rights).

      For the law to change the court would need to rule that there shouldn’t be religious exemption (the right result and hopefully bring about an amendment to the ECHR). Ladele’s loss would mean there would be case law to refer to and bigotry over LGBT people by religious zealots would once again be dealt a heavy blow.

      1. bobbleobble 4 Sep 2012, 4:14pm

        Your interpretation of the ECHR is only that however. Remember Article 9 is not an absolute right. It actually specifically says that the freedom of relgion can be curtailed in law if necessary. The judges could well find that the treatment of Ladele and McFarlane falls within these permitted curtailment at which point there is no breach of Article 9.

  9. casparthegood 4 Sep 2012, 2:07pm

    I hope ECHR treats this with with the contempt it deserves .Then (if needs be) it will be down to the Benefits Agency to decide if they left employment voluntarily- that should be fun to watch

  10. GulliverUK 4 Sep 2012, 2:12pm

    http://www.echr.coe.int/ECHR/Homepage_EN

    webcast details on front page, top right.

  11. While I do have some sympathy for the two who were dismissed, it seems, for wearing a cross, the other two went against the terms and conditions of their employment which resulted in their dismissal and this was the correct result.

    It is illegal to refuse services to people on grounds of their sexuality and Ms Ladelle and Mr McFarlane would have known this so they cannot bleat on about being sacked because of their own blatant homophobia and bigotry.

    1. DCBrighton 4 Sep 2012, 2:46pm

      There was more to the two cross wearers than just wearing the cross.

      The BA woman, Nadia Eweida was proselytising at work, told a gay man he could be ‘redeemed’ and refused to work on Christian holidays. She was offered as a compromise to wear a cross lapel pin. She refused.

      The nurse Shirley Chapman was working in an environment where it was of the utmost importance to prevent spread of infection and this meant that the attire of staff should be as sterile as possible. Chains in jewellery are very difficult to sanitise.

      1. Well in that case, they too got all they deserved! Thank you for that as I was unaware of those other issues.

        1. DCBrighton 4 Sep 2012, 3:09pm

          Both of those people were also working closely and face to face with the public. Both of their occupations brought them into contact with people who may become aggressive at any time.
          Now, I have a lanyard for work that has at the back a clip that breaks the lanyard on even the slightest pull. A jewellery chain does not have that and would cause at the least some serious grazing to the neck on being pulled by a disgruntled customer. And if that happened, they would be first to blame their employer!

  12. Practising Religion in public should be banned. The only place for Religion is in the privacy of your home.

    1. de Villiers 4 Sep 2012, 5:48pm

      Very fascist.

      1. I don’t believe sex, of either kind, should be on public display either, it’s all about decency not fascism.

      2. Paddyswurds 5 Sep 2012, 12:19pm

        How is it fascist to say that what is in peoples head in regard to fanciful beliefs should stay private and not be forced upon those of us who live in the real world and consider such notions with scorn. You might have a right to such fantasies, but you don’t have a right to inconvenience secular society with them and especially not have any influence on Government legislation to favour your fantasies.

    2. Julia Ford 4 Sep 2012, 9:19pm

      @Sevrin. Or maybe only the only place for religion is in thier heads “and not allowed out to play” . Now de villiers can call me fascist too.

  13. Julia Ford 4 Sep 2012, 2:27pm

    Well i hope they like living on benifits it may bring them into the 21st century.

    I wonder how life would be if everyone from the LGBT community refused to work with bigoted Cristians? Just a thought.

    1. PantoHorse 4 Sep 2012, 2:31pm

      Bloody awful. Secular society and law is the only way to really ensure equality for all.

  14. Hypercube 4 Sep 2012, 2:30pm

    *They’re* being discriminated against? It’s nauseating that yet again, the perpetrators are playing the victims, and hiding their irrational hatred and bigotry behind “religion” as an excuse to do so. Nice people who are misguided enough to be religious seem to manage to do so without feeling compelled to be unpleasant to gay people.

    Fingers crossed for the correct verdict.

    1. Religion is the root of much evil. The whole premise of religion is irrational.

      1. what about stalin and hitler

  15. Garry Cassell 4 Sep 2012, 2:34pm

    She doesn’t sound too bright..

    1. Dave North 4 Sep 2012, 3:42pm

      The Air Stewardess yes, but not the nurse.

      I do not want some dangly bacteria infected chain hanging over me in a hospital environment.

      Its VERY unhygienic.

      1. Julia Ford 4 Sep 2012, 9:24pm

        Well Dave! If you ever are in hospital and a vicar pops in to say hi you better tell him to “feck off” They have big ones you know!.

  16. It’s fair enough that the two ladies who were dismissed for wearing a cross should argue against their sacking.

    But bleating on about how it’s “against my religion to treat all customers equally” is such a joke.

    1. They were offered numerous compromises, some still allowing them to wear their crosses eg pinned inside their chest pocket, but they chose to make a big deal out of it and wouldn’t accept the efforts of their employers to accommodate them.

      Nurses have to remove their wedding rings etc which I’m sure is a potential concern but if you don’t like what the job’s going to involve (restriction of jewellery for hygiene and safety reasons) don’t take the bl**dy job.

      1. Even at school it specifically says in the school rules that any religious jewellery must be discreet and “worn inside the shirt”.

        Do I see my Christian friends take this to the ECHR? No I do not. Probably because they understand that not everyone is Christian, and that rules are there to be followed.

  17. I found it rather disconcerting to read some other borough councils do allow their so-called devout Christian registrars to opt out of civil partnership ceremonies.

  18. Yeah, get another job, bitches. Strict Muslim doesn’t work in a pub. His choice. You’re a bigot. Your choice. Scum.

  19. in South Africa we had a similar approach to people … it was called APARTHEID. Bigotry in any form is repugnant and in the years to come, we will understand that we continually seek out “The Other” as a way of preserving our narrow-mindedness.

  20. johnny33308 4 Sep 2012, 3:47pm

    It seems most if not all of these people were paid with public funds for jobs serving the ‘public’ which is of course all tax-paying citizens….they all appear to have breached their duties to said public….end of discussion. And they are all bigots, OBVIOUSLY. It is well past time that bigotry was punished in every way possible so that it will be extinguished from human consciousness forever…just saying….

  21. I think if someone wants to bring a cross into work it should be a full sized one like the one Jesus had and if they are really nauseating they could be nailed to it.

    As for the other 2 homophobes then I hope they get slapped across the face and told to grow up.

  22. Ah yes, the famous religious right to Pick’n’Mix what part of your employment contract you want to follow.
    ‘Slippery slope fallacy’ anyone?

  23. So all these Christians would be perfectly happy to be discriminated against because of their relgion or because of the colour of their skin, would they? Of course not – I can just imagine the howls of unfairness.

  24. Simon Gardner 4 Sep 2012, 4:29pm

    McFarlane the sex counsellor had counselling gay clients as part of his job, signed an agreement to it, then reneged.

    Former nurse Chaplin was allowed to wear her christian symbol as a brooch but refused.

    Nadia Eweida also refused to wear her christian symbol as a brooch/badge.

    Ladele the Registrar refused to do her job despite the fact that conducting same-sex civil partnerships was part of that job.

  25. Spanner1960 4 Sep 2012, 4:54pm

    “An act of discrimination”
    I totally agree.
    You discriminated against people with different sexualities. You reap what you sow.

  26. Marcwebbo3 4 Sep 2012, 5:00pm

    What a waste of money to show them up for being bigoted cretins….hope they enjoy life on the dole…well deserved

  27. GulliverUK 4 Sep 2012, 5:20pm

    Presumably if they did win they’d be able to refuse to work on Sundays, or particular religious days (Christmas Day), or HMRC staff refuse to process self-assessment forms where the person indicates they are in a Civil Partnership. It’s range and scope would be immense. Catholics could probably refuse to work with anyone who isn’t a Catholic, since they regard, from their doctrines, everyone else is a heretic.

    It’ll be some weeks before they delivery their decision.

  28. I know it seems malicious but I can’t wait for them to lose. They’re declaring war over such petty measures that it will provide a lovely sense of relief to see them get smashed through the floor.

  29. John M. Joyce 4 Sep 2012, 5:47pm

    Question: Imagine, for a minute, that you as a gay person are a registrar and that you are about to conduct a civil marriage ceremony. Just before you start your assistant whispers to you that the couple you are about to join in civil marriage are a well-known pair of extreme so-called Christian activists who openly campaign against gay people and gay rights and who have, in the past, made derogatory (in your opinion) remarks about gay people. In those hypothetical circumstances what would you feel like doing and what, in fact, do you think you would do?

    1. GulliverUK 4 Sep 2012, 6:15pm

      That’s real simple. I’d do what I was paid to do. If a person can’t stomach their employer or the job, then they should leave – you’re not entitled to that job, it’s given on the understanding you give up the rights to dictate what you will do when you are at work, you have to take reasonable command and carry out the work. Registrars aren’t performing religious ceremonies, in fact they mustn’t have any religious content, not even a hymn (as if the church now thinks it owns all the hymns !!!), and there is no “practice” of religion there, it’s just a secular legal contract signing. You don’t even have to have a ceremony.

      When I walk in the door I leave any prejudices, understanding of politics or religion, or personal views of most subjects, at the door, and collect them when I leave. It’s simply how most people are.

    2. DCBrighton 4 Sep 2012, 6:20pm

      Answer is – the bigotry and stupidity of the people in front of you make no difference on what you are paid to do. Son long as there is no legal reason not to marry the couple, you get on with the ceremony with courtesy and professionalism. Gay public service workers do it every single day, they do not screech out ‘persecution’, when required to serve someone who does not agree with them.

    3. Simple – I’d do my job. It would be completely unprofessional to let my personal opinions interfere with how I do my job.

      I wouldn’t ‘feel like doing’ anything else. If people can’t act in a professional manner they shouldn’t be given the job. I wouldn’t have to approve of the people getting married nor their opinions as my job would be to marry them just like anyone else, and I wouldn’t find that hard to do at all.

      That’s a wholly honest answer. I can’t understand why these bigots want to discriminate. They’re placing their prejudice above their humanity. I find it very, very sad, and quite disturbing.

  30. European Court of Human Rights is a real jobsworth with no power to force the UK to do anything.

    1. Coemgenus 4 Sep 2012, 6:05pm

      You need to do some reading other than the ranting pages in the Daily Mail. The ECHR has a lot of power to force the UK to do a lot of things – and long may it continue on the path of forcing the British Government into treating all citizens equally, not just the ones who share the same gods.

      1. “Imaginary” Gods….

      2. The ECtHR is persuasive authority, the European Court of Justice however IS binding. They are too different courts and too many journalists assume they are the same thing/do not make it clear they are not the same thing.

      3. and you know that in fact the European Court of Human Rights has in fact delivered many Religion trumps gay rulings – such as ruling that there is no right for same sex couples to marry and will only change their mind on the matter when the majority of the signatories to the convention agree.

      4. “The case could help to draw a clear boundary in cases where religious views contradict laws against discrimination. It will have implications across 47 countries on the continent. The court ruling will NOT BE BINDING IN BRIATIN in the way that a Supreme Court ruling would be, but the country is legally obliged to take it into account [in other words can acknowledge that the ECtHR thought that but not take it any further]”

        “http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/04/christians-take-discrimination-cases-to-europes-top-court/comment-page-4/”

        as reported by CNN.

        1. or “The only “binding” effect of Strasbourg is limited to section 3(1) of the Human Rights Act, which compels a court dealing with a case concerning a human rights question to interpret it in line with the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).”

          (a)applies to primary legislation and subordinate legislation whenever enacted;
          (b) DOES NOT AFFECT THE VALIDITY, CONTINUING OPERATION OR ENFORCEMENT OF ANY INCOMPATIBLE PRIMARY LEGISLATION
          (c)does not affect the validity, continuing operation or enforcement of any incompatible subordinate legislation if (disregarding any possibility of revocation) primary legislation prevents removal of the incompatibility.

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2011/feb/09/european-court-of-human-rights-human-rights

          as reported by Guardian

  31. Must have been listening to the Bulls[hitters] of Chymorvah….

    As usual, religion is being used to avoid having to work with people. not surprised you were sacked. If I, in my job, refused to serve a person because he or she had dyed hair for example, or false fingernails… i too would be subject to a disciplinary board meeting and would in all likeliness, be sacked too.

    You cannot discriminate on the grounds of sexuality. its simple. Get it into your heads!!!! Live with it, accept, or fox trot oscar back to your cave.

  32. John Allman 4 Sep 2012, 8:17pm

    There has been a great deal of conflicting reporting about the Gary McFarlane case. Some reports are even saying that he refused service to a gay couple, for example. However, his only misconduct, according to many reports and his own words in interviews, was merely answering a hypothetical question, on a training day, by admitting that he’d not given thought to the question as to whether he’d feel “comfortable” giving sex therapy to a gay couple, and that he might indeed NOT feel “comfortable” in that context. This is hardly “bigotry”. Most people probably wouldn’t feel “comfortable” giving sex therapy to ANYBODY.

    How can a sex therapist who doesn’t feel comfortable giving sex therapy to a gay couple deliver good quality sex therapy to a gay couple, if a gay couple applies to him for sex therapy? Why would a gay couple want, or trust, sex therapy delivered to them by a sex therapist who felt uncomfortable giving them sex therapy?

    1. bobbleobble 4 Sep 2012, 9:27pm

      I’ve seen him interviewed and he said that he would definitely not provide counselling to a gay couple due to his religious convictions although interestingly would have no problem giving sexual therapy to those who are unmarried.

      However, he is a public employee who is there to provide a service and he doesn’t get to pick which couples he feels comfortable giving therapy to. He is simply required to give a professional level of advice to all couples assigned to him and if he feels unable to do that then he should find a different job.

      1. John Allman 4 Sep 2012, 10:48pm

        I suspect you are mis-remembering. Gary McFarlane is a qualified counsellor, and was a trainee sex therapist when Relate fired him.

        He said he actually has delivered a counselling service to a gay couple in an interview I heard months and months ago. Yes, I too have heard or read him saying since he was fired, that he would definitely not want to give sex therapy to a gay couple. But it appears that he made this decision, in the abstract, some time AFTER being fired for admitting that giving sex therapy (as opposed to counselling) to a gay couple was outside his comfort zone.

        Relate isn’t a public sector organisation.

        1. GulliverUK 4 Sep 2012, 11:19pm

          As I understand it he gave counselling to a lesbian couple, but that didn’t involve any sexual element. He specifically took the PST (sex therapy) training so he could deal with that aspect for couples, but said he would be ok dealing with gay couples, then said he wasn’t sure, then they said he’d deal with it if it arose but then admitted he hadn’t changed his original position, that he didn’t think he’s be able to deal with same-sex sexual therapy issues. So he had the PST training, didn’t evolve, even though he could clearly give relationship advice to lesbians — presumably not having a religious problem with that — but admitted he would have a problem with gay men and sexual therapy. His real problem is that he destroyed the employer-employee relationship because he gave assurances he wouldn’t have a problem, then admitted he hadn’t changed and would have a problem – so they couldn’t trust him any longer. He breeched the ‘mutual trust and respect’ which is required by law.

    2. Tim Chapman 4 Sep 2012, 9:52pm

      Relate have been counselling gay people for years. They counselled me twenty years ago. So this guy must have known that Relate counsel gay people when he applied to be a Relate counsellor. I simply don’t believe that he only first considered how he’d feel about counselling gay people when asked about it in a training session after he had already become a Relate counsellor.

      1. John Allman 4 Sep 2012, 10:55pm

        A lot of people seem to be getting this wrong. Gary McFarlane has already delivered counselling services to gay couples, and has no problem doing so. At most, it has only been sex therapy services that he has felt less than comfortable delivering to gay couples (admitted in a hypothetical question) – although he has never once been asked to do this.

        Sex therapy services are NOT the same as counselling services.

        1. GulliverUK 4 Sep 2012, 11:26pm

          You can’t run a service when you don’t know how many of your Relate counsellors, who’ve been trained (PST) to deal with sexual issues, are going to suddenly turn around and say they can’t do their job afterall. You need to know what sort of service you can offer. The whole point of the PST training is that counsellors are “unshockable”. He knew full well before he even went on the PST training that it would mean he’d have to counsel gay couples sexual problems. Civil Partnerships had been in for a couples of years, and it was covered on the course. If he was a Christian why did he put himself in that position, knowing he was taking a course which would mean he not only had to counsel gay couples, but counsel their sexual needs. Relationships are one thing, sexual matters – if we are to believe his objection is religiously-based – if quite another. …. Love the sinner, hate the sin kind of thing. As I said earlier, he destroyed the trust between himself and employer.

          1. John Allman 5 Sep 2012, 2:18pm

            You appear to have been following the case of Mr Gary McFarlane. You appear to have understood my points, and I have understood yours. Thank you for your time.

  33. I couldn’t agree more with the comments. The pair do not deserve employment; they are nothing but homophobic bigots!!

  34. casparthegood 5 Sep 2012, 1:14pm

    Lets turn this on its head a minute Many people who want a “civil Marriage” -of either sex before we start on that one- are doing so in order to avoid churches in the first place. How does this Registrar square that with her conscience? A civil “marriage” is always “without benefit of clergy” is it not? And what about all the other functions of a registrar that gay people may need does she refuse them as well? This looks like petty vindictive point scoring: so nothing new there then.

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