Civil servants can be forced to perform duties that contravene the principles of their conscience
Dangerous Precedent Set with Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
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Carleton Place – Local MP Scott Reid and MPP Randy Hillier are disappointed with the Court of the Queen’s Bench in Saskatchewan which ruled on Monday that civil servants can be forced to perform duties that contravene the principles of their conscience.
A Christian marriage commissioner in Saskatchewan went to court to reverse a discrimination ruling against him that fined him $2,500 for refusing to perform a same-sex marriage because that would violate his conscience in 2005.
The court ruled in favour of punishing the man for following his religious convictions
The court ruled in favour of punishing the man for following his religious convictions.
“This sets a dangerous precedent,” stated Reid. “To think that a court has ruled that a man can be forced to do something that goes against his religious beliefs or else face a Human Rights complaint and a heavy fine is unconscionable.”
“In effect, this court has ruled that the freedom of conscience is less important than the equality rights from Section 15 of theCharter of Rights and Freedoms.”
Reid continued, “I believe the court has it backwards: The right of that marriage commissioner to refuse to violate his personal moral beliefs is more important than the right of one gay couple to demand to be married by that particular marriage commissioner. Another marriage commissioner who would be willing to perform the ceremony could be handily found.”
Ontario currently allows a marriage commissioner to refuse to perform a same-sex marriage for religious reasons but critics worry that rulings like this one could set a dangerous precedent.
“This is not a matter of religion, but a case of the courts intrusion over one’s moral conscience, and their unjust & unmitigated failure to protect an individual’s freedom in its imposition of a collective tolerance.” Hillier stated, once again the courts have demonstrated a lack of deference to elected democracy, said Hillier.