No opt-out clause for anti-gay marriage registrars

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission has told UK MPs all registrars should be required to carry out ceremonies for same-sex couples

No opt-out clause for anti-gay marriage registrars
15 February 2013

Anti-gay registrars will not be able to opt out of performing same-sex marriages in England and Wales if they object on religious grounds.

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has told MPs marriage registrars are public officials and should be required to carry out all civil ceremonies.

Lillian Ladele, a Christian registrar who was sacked for objecting to carrying out a civil partnership, had her appeal rejected by the European Court last year.

The EHRC said if you work for a public authority, you should not be able to discriminate against any person or couple who wish to use the service.

Jim Shannon, a member of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, brought up Ladele in the House of Commons Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill debate on 5 February.

‘[Ladele’s story] demonstrates that a quadruple lock and any other kind of lock will fall down when it comes to the European Court,’ he said.

The same-sex marriage bill includes a clause ensuring priests and clerics do not have to carry out weddings for gay couples.

But in its legal advice, the EHRC states: ‘[The clause] does not concern the conduct of a marriage registrar, superintendent registrar or the Registrar General.

‘So registrars who are employed to deliver a public function may be required to solemnize same-sex marriages.

‘This is similar to requirements that have been placed on some registrars since the Civil Partnerships Act 2004, meaning many have been required to perform civil partnerships as part of their duties.’

The EHRC’s guidelines follow anti-gay Peter Smith, the Archbishop of Southwark, who said he has accepted defeat and understands same-sex marriage will become law.

After the committee of 19 MPs are finished analysing the bill, it will head back to the House of Commons for a third reading. If it passes, it will then go to the House of Lords for approval.



No thumbnail available

Amnesty asks Moldova to lift LGBT march ban

Human rights charity Amnesty International has said Moldovan councils’ ban on LGBTI demonstrations violates obligations and stirs up hostility
No thumbnail available

Star Wars’ Carrie Fisher: ‘Don’t out C3PO!’

Princess Leia actress tells gay host Alan Carr she will not let him 'go there' when he talks about the camp robot
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Facebook launches gay marriage icon

Gay and lesbian users on social networking site can now choose a same-sex marriage option when they wed
This nurse's heartbreaking story explains why equal marriage is so vital

This nurse's heartbreaking story explains why equal marriage is so vital

Nurse shares how gay people are treated in life-or-death situations without marriage equality
No thumbnail available

Australian Christian candidate says he will push for marriage equality if elected

A Christian Australian Labor Party candidate says allowing same-sex couples to marry would be one of his priorities if elected later this year
No thumbnail available

British actress wins TV award for playing departed trans woman

Coronation Street's Julie Hesmondhalgh scooped the best serial drama performance at the National TV Awards voted for by the public
No thumbnail available

Hug chair takes the weight out of cuddles

Award-winning chair allows extra time for embracing
No thumbnail available

Nigerian Anglican Church requiring office holders to denounce homosexuality

The Anglican Church in Nigeria has banned homosexuals and bisexuals from all official roles within the church – forcing potential office holders to denounce homosexuality before God
No thumbnail available

Motion Picture Association of America rates Love Is Strange R despite no nudity, violence or sex

The Motion Picture Association of America has given an R-rating to a film staring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as elderly gay newly weds despite there being no sex, nudity, violence or drug use in the film