Labour MP Attempts to Remove Religious Freedom of Conscience after Christian Marriage Registrar Vic
By Hilary White
LONDON, Aug. 5, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The victory of a Christian marriage registrar who had asked to be allowed to recuse herself from performing homosexual civil partnership ceremonies, has infuriated secularist and homosexual activists in the media and in Parliament. A Labour MP has tabled a motion in Parliament that would eliminate the freedom of religious conscience of public servants who oppose the homosexualist political agenda.
The motion, tabled by Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, urges ministers to amend the law to ensure that public servants with "arbitrary" religious beliefs will be forced to either violate their conscience or quit their jobs.
The motion proposes, "That this house believes that no public servant should be allowed to discriminate on this arbitrary basis and, should this case not be reversed on appeal, calls on the Government to clarify and amend the law to guard the public against discrimination and prejudice by public servants in the future."
In July, Lillian Ladele won a complaint against the Islington Council in which she complained that her work environment had been made intolerable over her religiously based conscientious objection to homosexual civil unions.
She was threatened with the loss of her job and the Tribunal heard testimony that a "climate of fear" was growing in Britain among public servants who adhere to Christian values as Councils increasingly adopt "politically correct" pro-homosexual policies. The Tribunal ruled that the Council had perpetrated a "violation" of Miss. Ladele’s dignity and "created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment."
The Council is appealing the decision.
Diane Abbot responded to the Tribunal ruling saying, "The whole point of civil partnerships is that they are legal contracts handed out by the state."
"They have nothing to do with religion and therefore the religious beliefs of a public servant carrying them out are irrelevant."
Abbott is well known to the British pro-life and pro-family movement as one of the major figures in the push for expansion of legal abortion. Abbott is one of a group of six MPs, none of whom represent the province, who are pushing to expand the Abortion Act into Northern Ireland, against the wishes of both the national assembly and the majority of the public.
At the same time, a spate of hostile editorials has appeared over the case, even in what are usually regarded as the "conservative" papers. Miss Ladele has been attacked as a "bigot" and her religion, which remains the official established state religion of Britain, has been described as inherently "intolerant" and undeserving of a place in public life.
The Guardian, known as one of Britain’s most left-leaning papers, called the decision of the Tribunal to uphold Miss Ladele’s rights "astonishing" and warned that it would lead to a glut of religious employees "flourishing their religious convictions" on issues such as "gay rights" and "abortion pills."
The Times, widely regarded as the more moderate and balanced paper, fronted the headline: "Lillian, the marriage registrar who’s wedded to bigotry." Rod Liddle, who also contributes to the Spectator, one of the western world’s leading "conservative" political magazines, wrote that "the fact that she can append her bigotry to a minority view within a church attended by a vanishingly small section of the British population apparently swung the day."
The Telegraph, the paper strongly supportive of the resurgent Tory party, offered, "Religious beliefs can be tolerated at best" and said that Ladele should have put her beliefs to one side. Sam Leith wrote that "regardless of her personal convictions, the job of a registrar does now involve presiding over civil ceremonies for gay couples."
"The suggestion seems to be that rights in law are conferred on her ‘by virtue’ of her Christianity - that a special protection should be extended to her prejudice because it is superstitious in character. That’s rubbish, and pernicious rubbish. Bigotry is bigotry, whether or not it hides behind the skirts of the Almighty. "
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
UK Tribunal Rules that Christian Cannot be Forced to Conduct Gay Partnership Ceremony