Comment: Gay rights, gay wrongs?

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So it seems the battle between gay rights and religious rights continues. It appears that a religious man cannot express his personal views on gay marriage and the ordination of gay clergy even when chatting to a co-worker without being reported.

Of course, this depends on what exactly he said, who he said it to, the amount of offence taken and what job he does. Or does it?

Society’s increasing disregard for religious beliefs, whether held personally or collectively, should be a matter of concern for LGBT people.

With the Daily Mail brigade’s constant rants on the dominant genes of secularism and political correctness, it would be easy to forget that many gay people also regard themselves as religious.

Many non-religious gay people still aren’t comfortable with gay marriage. Would the charity worker therefore be suspended if he was a gay man objecting to the ‘broad cause’ of pushing for same-sex marriage? Almost certainly not.

We’ve been here before. Only a few months ago Lilian Ladele, a registrar from Islington who refused to perform civil partnerships on same-sex couples because it conflicted with her Christian beliefs, had her case overturned after originally winning a tribunal case on the grounds of religious discrimination.

This highlighted the clear division between the rights of gay people and those of faith as almost competing entities.

This again manifested itself in California’s decision last November to ban gay marriage in the state. Both the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ campaigns on passing Proposition 8 received huge endorsements from politicians, celebrities and the public, but was ultimately a fight between religious voters and gay voters, with no real reason for a straight person with no views on the matter to vote.

Interestingly, these are issues where gay and religious interests overlap, and factions within both sides of the argument may contradict the larger cause to which they belong.

Surely this waters down the notion that there are simply two sides to an argument over issues like same-sex marriage? A ‘yes/no’ option was too simplistic to assess what the people of California really wanted.

A multi-option referendum could have been held to express individual opinions on gay marriage, eg. whether the state should revert to having civil partnerships indefinitely.

With this in mind, is the case of the charity worker a case of religious bigotry on his part or religious discrimination by his employer? Whatever the outcome of this case, it seems increasingly apparent that people have more of a right to be gay than to be religious.

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