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Gay marriage: no opt-out for Christian registrars

By John Bingham, Telegraph

Christian registrars will not be able to opt out of performing gay marriages if they object on grounds of belief, the Government’s human rights watchdog has said.

In guidance to MPs, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said marriage registrars were public officials and so should expect to be “required” to carry out the ceremonies.

The document makes clear that employees, including teachers and chaplains working in the public sector, should be free to express their views on marriage without being disciplined.

But it says that religious protection is “a qualified right” which “the state can interfere with” in some circumstances.

The question of whether council registrars can object to carrying out parts of their jobs if they clash with their religious beliefs was thrown into the spotlight by the case of Lillian Ladele, who was one of four Christians who went to the European Court of Human Rights last year over disputes involving their employers.

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