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for orthodox Anglicans

Full Gay Rights threaten Christians in public life

January 15th, 2013 Chris Sugden Posted in Gay Activism, Human Rights Comments Off

The march to gay equality in Britain is causing Christians to be squeezed from public life, believers have claimed in the wake of a European Court ruling…..

Marriage counsellor Gary McFarlane, 51, and registrar Lillian Ladele said their careers suffered after they made clear how their faith had an impact on their job. McFarlane admitted he felt uncomfortable with the prospect of providing advice to gay couples, while Ladele refused to oversee civil partnerships between same-sex pairs.

Both lost their case for discrimination under the Human Rights Act. But the group Anglican Mainstream said gay rights were stifling the rights of people to live lives of faith openly.

Spokesman Chris Sugden told IBTimes UK: "Human rights were introduced to protect minorities but not to give them supervening rights over the rest of society.

"Gay rights have now become a separate privilege and a specially protected group of rights which trump all others, including freedom of conscientious objection and to hold religious conviction without fear of discrimination."

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Religious beliefs need common sense protection – response to European Court judgement

January 15th, 2013 Jill Posted in Human Rights, Religious Liberty Comments Off

From Evangelical Alliance

We need more common sense for Christian belief in public life – that’s the view of the Evangelical Alliance following a key European judgement on religious freedom.

[...]  Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy for the Evangelical Alliance, said: “The court’s recognition of Christian belief in everyday life is welcome, but in only finding in favour of Nadia Eweida, it has shown a hierarchy of rights now exists in UK law.

“While for some the cross is a vital part of their worship, at the heart of Christianity is not about a set of rules, but a God that brings people into a new life of freedom. This new life is then lived out 24-7, and cannot ever be restricted to just our private lives.

“If UK courts are going to protect religious freedom more fully in the future they need to better understand the nature of Christian belief. Developing better religious literacy needs to become a priority.

“The failure of the court to protect the religious freedom of Lillian Ladele in living out her faith in a way consistent with historic Christian belief shows the limitations of this judgement. We need solutions that will allow for the reasonable accommodation of the expressions of religious belief in all its diverse forms.

“If we want to live in a society that is diverse and can live with its deepest differences there needs to be a fuller protection for religious beliefs, convictions and actions.

“We hope that in the light of today’s decision, employers, public bodies, and courts will seek to understand religious belief better and build relationships with faith groups to help achieve this. The alternative of a society that is in perpetual legal conflict with itself is both undesirable and unsustainable.”

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Read also:  Ruling on Christian's right to wear cross 'does not trump other human rights' by Owen Bowcott, Guardian


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Marriage: natural rights and the role of the State

January 14th, 2013 Jill Posted in Human Rights Comments Off

From gentlemind

The State's proper role regarding the rights of its citizens is to recognise (protect) the inherent rights of all. No right can be a human right unless it pertains to an inherent potential of the human body. The U.S. Declaration of Independence gives an excellent explanation of this: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.". "Truths", "Created", "Endowed", "Creator" and "Unalienable": none of these words pertain to any ability of the State as the State does not create humans. Our inherent rights would still exist even in the absence of a legal framework, as it is not man-made law that gives us our bodies. If our bodies exist in the absence of the State, then our rights exist in the absence of the State. The State can neither create nor destroy rights: it can only ever legally recognise them, or legally deny them. From this proper understanding of the nature of rights, we can make sense of the interplay between citizen and State.

With regard to marriage, the State (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR] article 16, the European Convention on Human Rights article 12, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights article 23) gives marriage as a compound right: the right to marry and to found a family. Of the 30 articles in the UDHR, 29 refer to people as a whole: "All human beings", "Everyone", "No one", and "All". Article 16 is the only article to refer to a class of people, because it is the only article that needs to. Article 16 refers to marriage, which is a relationship and is concerned therefore with the rights of one human in relation to the rights of another human. By definition, all classes of human must themselves reside within the two largest classes of human: male and female. As the article includes males and females there is no class of human that resides outside of article 16.

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Same-Sex Marriage Ten Years On: Lessons from Canada

December 11th, 2012 Jill Posted in Canada, Gay Marriage, Human Rights Comments Off

By Bradley Miller, Witherspoon Institute

The effects of same-sex civil marriage in Canada—restrictions on free speech rights, parental rights in education, and autonomy rights of religious institutions, along with a weakening of the marriage culture—provide lessons for the United States. (AM adds:  and the UK.)

Would recognizing same-sex relationships as marriages be much of a game-changer? What impact, if any, would it have on the public conception of marriage or the state of a nation’s marriage culture?

There has been no shortage of speculation on these questions. But the limited American experience with same-sex marriage to date gives us few concrete answers. So it makes sense to consider the Canadian experience since the first Canadian court established same-sex marriage a decade ago. There are, of course, important cultural and institutional differences between the US and Canada and, as is the case in any polity, much depends upon the actions of local political and cultural actors. That is to say, it is not necessarily safe to assume that Canadian experiences will be replicated here. But they should be considered; the Canadian experience is the best available evidence of the short-term impact of same-sex marriage in a democratic society very much like America.

Anyone interested in assessing the impact of same-sex marriage on public life should investigate the outcomes in three spheres: first, human rights (including impacts on freedom of speech, parental rights in public education, and the autonomy of religious institutions); second, further developments in what sorts of relationships political society will be willing to recognize as a marriage (e.g., polygamy); and third, the social practice of marriage.

The Impact on Human Rights

The formal effect of the judicial decisions (and subsequent legislation) establishing same-sex civil marriage in Canada was simply that persons of the same-sex could now have the government recognize their relationships as marriages. But the legal and cultural effect was much broader. What transpired was the adoption of a new orthodoxy: that same-sex relationships are, in every way, the equivalent of traditional marriage, and that same-sex marriage must therefore be treated identically to traditional marriage in law and public life.

A corollary is that anyone who rejects the new orthodoxy must be acting on the basis of bigotry and animus toward gays and lesbians. Any statement of disagreement with same-sex civil marriage is thus considered a straightforward manifestation of hatred toward a minority sexual group. Any reasoned explanation (for example, those that were offered in legal arguments that same-sex marriage is incompatible with a conception of marriage that responds to the needs of the children of the marriage for stability, fidelity, and permanence—what is sometimes called the conjugal conception of marriage), is dismissed right away as mere pretext. 1

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Tories vote to scrap ‘undemocratic’ Human Rights Act

December 5th, 2012 Jill Posted in Human Rights, Politics Comments Off

by Tim Ross, Telegraph

The Commons vote intensified pressure on David Cameron from his own backbenchers to pull Britain out of the “undemocratic” jurisdiction of the European court.

The Prime Minister has said he would like to abolish the Human Rights Act but suggested Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats would not allow him move “further and faster” with reform.

Former Tory ministers including Nick Herbert, Crispin Blunt and Gerald Howarth were among 71 Conservatives who backed a Commons motion to repeal Labour’s Human Rights Act 1998.

Richard Bacon, Conservative MP for South Norfolk, proposed the motion.

Proposing his motion, Mr Bacon said the Human Rights Act was a vehicle for the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to influence and change British law.

He said the only people in the United Kingdom who should hold such power were elected MPs.

Mr Bacon said the European Court of Human Rights could “impose its will against ours”, adding that this was “fundamentally undemocratic”.

“Judges do not have access to a tablet of stone not available to the rest of us that allow them better to discern what our people need than we can possibly do as their elected, fallible, corrigible representatives,” he told MPs.

“There is no set of values so universally agreed we can appeal to them as a useful final arbiter. In the end, they will always be shown up as either uselessly vague or controversially specific.

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UNFPA’s Crass Debasement of “Human Rights”

November 15th, 2012 Jill Posted in Children/Family, Human Rights Comments Off

By Wendy Wright, Turtle Bay & Beyond

Parroting UNFPA’s talking point, news stories on the UN’s family planning agency’s annual report focus on the claim that contraception is a human right. The media seem unconcerned that UNFPA has no authority to declare anything a human right, and rather naive in not seeing the crass self-interest inherent in demanding the products and services supplied by UNFPA are a “right.”
How much will this “right” cost others? UNFPA is demanding an additional $8 billion for contraceptives – per year!
As we discussed it in the office, Austin Ruse, president of C-FAM, made a salient point:
“The suggestion that contraception is a human right is part of the false and lying echo chamber at the UN over human rights. It is precisely such debasement of authentic human rights which puts people in the developing world in grave danger. Human rights are about freedom of religion, democratic self-determination, freedom of assembly, things that people all around the world agree with, and not something so controversial and divisive as a right to contraception. Many people may consider contraception to be acceptable, but even they would doubt that it rises to a level of human rights.”
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Read also:  Water, Food, Shelter, Condoms – All are Human Rights says UN by Marcus Roberts, MercatorNet
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Report on Intolerance Against Christians Submitted to UN Human Rights Commission

November 1st, 2012 Jill Posted in Human Rights, Religious Liberty Comments Off

by Rebecca Oas, C-Fam

Parents in Germany seeking to educate their children with a Christian worldview have been jailed and fined for trying to exempt their children from state-mandated sex education program, according to a report by the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians and submitted to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). In at least three separate instances Christian parents were punished on the grounds that the government wanted to “prevent parallel societies." Homeschooling also remains illegal in Germany, regardless of parents’ religious or cultural reasons for wishing to do so.

The report describes numerous instances of German authorities using oppressive measures against Christians who act according to their religious and moral beliefs, such as restricting pro-life activity near abortion clinics and counseling centers that refer for abortions. It requests that Germany amend its law to allow legal exemptions for pharmacists who object to dispensing morning-after pills on religious grounds. Germany does not extend legal protection of conscientious objection to potentially abortifacient drugs.

A mood of hostility in Germany toward Christianity comes across in the numerous instances of vandalism, destruction of property, and defamatory displays listed in the report. Many of them involve the destruction or defamation of Christian symbols, churches, and cemeteries, as well as sites of religious significance such as the birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI.

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Read also:  Dipolomats criticize Human Rights Boss:  [...]  The OHCHR has become a principal promoter in the UN system of new special rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons. The African Group and other delegations asked the Ms. Pillay to concentrate on “universally recognized human rights.” Roughly half of all UN member states perceive the efforts of the OHCHR to advance LGBT rights as offensive, given the many pressing human rights issues they face.  Read here

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Why homosexual ‘marriage’ signals the end of heterosexual rights

November 1st, 2012 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Human Rights Comments Off

By Greg Quinlan, LifeSite News

The homosexual push for “equal marriage,” otherwise known as genderless marriage, can only lead to a ban on heterosexual rights. With a President in power who endorses gay causes and readily misuses executive orders, and emboldened by their numerous wins for gay rights at the legislative and judicial level, homosexuals have now moved beyond equal rights to the “more equal than you” level. As a result, gay organizations are working to ban that practice they fear the most—heterosexual behavior.

Witness the ban on heterosexual therapy successfully pushed by homosexual groups in California. Even though no scientific evidence exists of a “gay gene,” parents in California are now prohibited from taking their children to see a therapist to resolve their child’s unwanted same-sex attractions.

So for parents who discover that their son has been molested and is now sexually confused, their only option is to make an appointment with a gay affirming therapist because unlike heterosexual affirming therapy, gay affirming therapy has not been declared illegal in California even though such therapy has not been proven beneficial by the APA.

Yet a parent can take their son to a therapist to approve gender blocking hormones so that the child’s natural gender is stunted before he reaches puberty. In short, parents can attempt to change a child’s gender, but they can’t change their child’s sexual orientation unless it is to a homosexual identity.

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UN Human Rights Council Affirms Traditional Values

October 6th, 2012 Jill Posted in Human Rights Comments Off

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D., C-Fam

Delegations from European Countries and the United States suffered a setback last week when the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution affirming a positive link between traditional values and human rights. The European and U.S. delegations view traditional values as threats to women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual persons.

This is the third resolution on traditional values to pass since 2009. Russia successfully pressed the resolution forward despite attempts by other UN member states to stifle their initiative.

The current resolution, tabled by Russia and co-authored by more than 60 states (not all members of the Council), affirms that traditional values common to all humanity have a positive role in the promotion and protection of human rights. It states that “a better understanding and appreciation of traditional values shared by all humanity and embodied in universal human rights instruments contribute to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide.”

Echoing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it stresses “that human rights derive from the dignity and worth inherent in the human person” and recognizes the positive role of the family, community and educational institutions in promoting human rights, calling on states to “strengthen this role through appropriate positive measures.”

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Religious liberty and the Government’s hot-head lawyers

September 17th, 2012 Jill Posted in Human Rights, Religious Liberty Comments Off

From Cranmer

[...]  In light of the legal arguments being used in Strasbourg to restrict the display of religious symbols and the manifestation of belief in the workplace – in the cases of Nadia Eweida, Shirley Chaplin, Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane – either Eric Pickles and David Cameron are being duplicitous, or government lawyers are being over-zealous in their quest for courtroom victory.

It is easy to believe that the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government are being disingenuous, deflective and ignorant of the real concerns: they are, after all, politicians. But if Mr Pickles happens to be honourable, honest and fully informed on the matter; and if Mr Cameron meant what he said to Parliament about the fundamental right to manifest one’s religion in the workplace, the only alternative conclusion is that the Government’s hot-headed lawyers have gone renegade in court: they are acting independently, failing to inform ministers of state or even run their legal arguments past (at least) the Attorney General in order to ensure that they cohere with pan-governmental objectives.

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Human rights ‘agenda’ is new totalitarianism, bishop warns judges

September 1st, 2012 Jill Posted in Human Rights, Religious Liberty Comments Off

The Rt Revd Michael Nazir AliBy John Bingham, Telegraph

Human rights are becoming a new form of totalitarianism, being used to drive Christians out of public life and even their jobs, European judges will be warned next week.

Laws originally designed to protect basic freedoms are instead being used to strip British society of its Christian foundations while upholding the rights of minorities, they will hear.

The warning, from a prominent Church of England bishop, comes as part of a landmark case on religious freedom in Britain to be heard at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg next week.

In a powerful submission to the judges, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, warns of a distorted “human rights agenda” which he likens to the atheist communist regimes in Eastern Europe which also suppressed Christianity by preventing public manifestations of faith.

Unless basic Christian values are upheld, human rights will become “another inhuman ideology”, like the totalitarian regimes of the past, suppressing individuals, he says.

The case is being brought by four workers including Shirley Chaplin, a former nurse, and Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in clerk who were denied the right to wear a cross as a visible manifestation of their faith.

They are joining with Gary McFarlane, a relationship counsellor, and Lillian Ladele, a registrar, who were refused the right to opt out of tasks which went against their beliefs on homosexuality.

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UN Human Rights Council Scraps Universal Values in Favor of Special Interests

August 10th, 2012 Jill Posted in Human Rights Comments Off

by Stefano Gennarini, J.D. Turtle Bay & Beyond

Last year a resolution was passed the by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva requesting a study on the relation of “universal traditional values” and human rights. The study was to be prepared by the Advisory Committee of the HRC.

In February this year a first draft of study, by the Russian expert on the committee Vladimir Kartashkin, was discussed by the advisory committee. The study concentrated on values that were considered truly “universal”, and would not enter into conflict with human rights. It contained references to the right to life, traditional marriage, the role of the family in society, as well as positive mentions of major religions.

The purpose of considering the link between universal traditional values and human rights is obviously to strengthen the normative significance of human rights, especially those values and human rights that all countries and peoples agree upon, and are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But countries and NGOs more interested in promoting special rights were incensed by the study.

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Equal rights and gay marriage

July 19th, 2012 Jill Posted in Human Rights, Religious Liberty Comments Off

From Herald Scotland

FREEDOM of religious expression is a cornerstone of a liberal and civilised society, as is equality.

When equality for one person erodes the religious freedom of another, clear moral thinking is required.

A referendum is not the best way to achieve that but in calling for a public vote on the legalisation of same-sex marriage (which attracted three times the number of submissions to the consultation as that on the independence referendum), Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Scotland's most senior Roman Catholic, has crystallised the dilemma facing Alex Salmond and his cabinet ministers on the issue.

They were expected to publish yesterday the response to the consultation on same-sex marriage and their decision on whether to proceed with legislation. Instead, the matter has been remitted to a cabinet sub-committee with a commitment that a decision will be announced and the responses published by the end of this month. That particular details require further consideration seven months after the consultation closed indicates that the political stakes are higher than first thought and that a legal minefield has to be crossed. It also suggests that the SNP – confident that a free vote at Holyrood could overcome the problems of religious conscience of MSPs and assuming that a relaxation of social attitudes following the civil partnership legislation in 2005 would carry the legislation – had not done its homework on the legal consequences. For an administration in a parliament that from its inception had compatibility with human rights in its legislative DNA, that is a worrying omission.

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The European Court of Human Rights is an absurd yoke around Britain’s neck

May 23rd, 2012 Jill Posted in Human Rights Comments Off

By Nile Gardiner, Telegraph

As The Telegraph’s Tom Whitehead reports, prisoners in the UK must be given the right to vote following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). If the British government complies with this ruling, it will do so in the face of huge parliamentary and public opposition, with MPs voting against such a measure by 243 to 22 last February.
This is an appalling ruling from a supranational court in Strasbourg that does not possess an ounce of democratic credibility. Americans would never accept the judgment of a foreign court over their own domestic affairs, and nor should the British people. It is simply absurd that a great nation that has done more to advance the cause of liberty and freedom across the world than any other in Europe is subjecting itself to the decisions of a court that includes judges from Russia, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine, hardly countries with a sterling human rights record.
Before the last general election, then Shadow Justice Secretary Dominic Grieve rejected what he described as “a degree of deference to Strasbourg” and made it unequivocally clear that Britain would reserve the right to ignore European human rights rulings. This would be a good moment for the Attorney General to follow through with his pre-election pledge, and emphatically reject the idea that Strasbourg has the right to dictate British law. Not only should the British government firmly reject this latest ruling from the European Court but it should also amend the Human Rights Act to end the right of appeal to the ECHR, with a view to ending its incorporation into British law altogether.
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Read also:  Even if Euro-judges were minimally competent, there would be no reason to accept their jurisdiction by Daniel Hannan
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Christian group to sue Boris Johnson over ‘gay cure’ ads

April 13th, 2012 Jill Posted in Freedom Of Speech, Human Rights Comments Off

By Jerome Taylor, Independent

The Christian group behind the recent attempt to place "gay cure" adverts on London buses have instructed lawyers to sue both the Mayor of London and the company that initially agreed to host the adverts after they were banned at the last minute, the Independent can reveal.

Aughton Ainsworth, a Manchester based law firm with a long track record of taking on controversial religious cases, have been hired by Anglican Mainstream to issue legal proceedings against both Boris Johnson and CBS Outdoor.

The adverts were meant to begin running next week and mimicked a recent campaign by the gay-rights group Stonewall which used the strapline “Some people are gay, get over it!”.

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The next few months will be decisive for the respect of human life and dignity

April 5th, 2012 Jill Posted in Eugenics, Human Rights, pro-life/abortion Comments Off

From eChurch Websites

Turtle Bay and Beyond have a piece simply entitled: “Abortion and eugenics before the European Court of Human Rights“. The article begins thusly:
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) currently has before it an unprecedented number of cases relating to abortion. Because the principles established by the Court in its case are binding on the 47 member states, the next few months will be decisive for the respect of human life and dignity.
This is the time to pray as:
In the coming months, the European Court will have responsibility for defining, for the 47 member states, much of the legal framework of abortion and family issues such as eugenics and conscientious objection.
Despite the complexity of these legal cases, we can boil it all down to one single question; namely, should eugenic abortion constitute a ‘human right’.
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Strasbourg Has Spoken

March 24th, 2012 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Human Rights Comments Off

By David Lindsay

"The European Convention on Human Rights does not require member states’ governments to grant same-sex couples access to marriage."

But if same-sex "marriage" is lawful, then religious organisations that refuse to perform them do face litigation or prosecution under existing anti-discrimination legislation, irrespective of any statutory exemptions.

So there.

So much for just letting Quakers, Unitarians, Reform Jews and some Anglicans, Methodists and members of the URC get on with it, because no one was ever going to force it on Catholic churches (or on the Catholic Church, as such), on most Anglican churches (or on the Church of England and the Church in Wales, as such), on many or most Methodist or URC chapels, on Baptist chapels, on Orthodox synagogues, on mosques, and on churches attended by the growing number of black Pentecostals or by that sixth of the world's Greek Cypriots which lives in Britain.

Oh, yes, they are.

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Gay marriage is not a human right, according to European ruling

March 21st, 2012 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Human Rights Comments Off

by Donna Bowater, Telegraph

Judges in Europe have ruled member states do not have to grant same-sex couples access to marriage, it was reported.

The ruling follows the launch of a consultation over gay marriage in the UK, in which the Equalities Minister promised a change in the law.
The European Court of Human Rights reached the decision in the case of a lesbian couple in a civil partnership in France, who complained they would not be allowed to adopt a child as a couple, according to the Daily Mail.
The court heard how one of the women had her application refused to adopt her partner's child.
The pair, Valerie Gas and Nathalie Dubois, had tried to establish marriage rights under anti-discrimination laws but the judges said there had been no discrimination.
Judges also said that if same-sex unions became lawful, any church that refuses to marry gay couples could be charged with discrimination.

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ECtHR: Churches WILL be forced to conduct same-sex marriages

March 21st, 2012 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Human Rights Comments Off

From Cranmer

As the Government launch their not-a-consultation on 'gay marriage', it transpires that even the fons et origo of the equality industry are washing their hands of the proposal. Judges in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg have said: "The European Convention on Human Rights does not require member states’ governments to grant same-sex couples access to marriage."

BUT they warn (as everyone really knows and His Grace has been warning for years) that if same-sex unions became lawful, any church (and synagogue, mosque and gurdwara) that refuses to marry gay couples could be charged under existing anti-discrimination legislation, irrespective of any statutory exemptions. Ergo, the Coalition’s assurance that no religion will be compelled to conduct the weddings is worthless: Parliament will be forced to amend its legislation to conform to the judgement of the courts to which it is subject. We all know and fully understand that European law (that which emanates from both Strasbourg and Brussels) overrides any rule of national law found to be in conflict with any directly enforceable rule of European or EU law.

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Gay marriage is not a ‘human right’: European ruling torpedoes Coalition stance

March 21st, 2012 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Human Rights Comments Off

By Steve Doughty, Mailonline

Same-sex marriages are not a human right, European judges have ruled.

Their decision shreds the claim by ministers that gay marriage is a universal human right and that same-sex couples have a right to marry because their mutual commitment is just as strong as that of husbands and wives.

The ruling was made by judges of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg following a case involving a lesbian couple in a civil partnership who complained the French courts would not allow them to adopt a child as a couple.

The ruling also says that if gay couples are allowed to marry, any church that offers weddings will be guilty of discrimination if it declines to marry same-sex couples.

It means that if MPs legislate for same-sex marriage, the Coalition’s promise that churches will not be compelled to conduct the weddings will be worthless.

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