Friday, 14 May 2010

All Rights are Created Equal?

Since when?

Dale Blenner-Hassett, the lawyer representing the Canadian Fellowship of Churches and Ministers, said same-sex couples have the right to get married, but commissioners should also have rights.

"We're dealing with some marriage commissioners that we believe have been unfairly discriminated against," he told the five appeal court judges.

All rights are not created equal.

For instance, while you have the right to speak Chinese (freedom of expression), you do not automatically have the right to address Parliament in Chinese (English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and government of Canada).

You my have the freedom of association, but you can't do it in my backyard.

I have the right to life, liberty and security of the person, but I cannot carry a hand-gun. Etc.

Many/All(?) rights have limits that are within the realm of reason. You have freedom of religion, but you can't sacrifice babies to your god. That "right" is trumped by the right to life.

So, it is completely consistent with our laws to require civil servants to perform civil functions, regardless of their religious objections. A civil ceremony is areligious, and must be performed in that manner.

Otherwise we wind up in Möbius logic loops. Imagine that all the civil marriage commissioners in a community are opposed to gay marriages, and decline to perform the ceremony.  But there is a church from the United Church of Canada that will officiate a gay marriage. (Irony alert!)  That allows the gay couple to be married right?

But what if the gay couple were atheist, and do not want a religious ceremony, but desire a civil one?

Who's rights trump who's? They have a right to be married, the civic marriage commissioner has the right to deny the ceremony for religious reasons, but the couple have a right to a civil ceremony in accordance with their beliefs?  Stalemate.

Short answer, if you want to officiate over religious ceremonies in accordance with your own beliefs, don't officiate for the civic government. Separate church functions from state functions, otherwise you open the door to complete inanity.

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