Wednesday, March 21, 2012

George Laird is right again as European Court rules that gay marriage is not a 'human right': ruling torpedoes Coalition and Scot Gov stance

Dear All

At present there is a campaign by the gay community and some politicians to promote the idea of gay marriage.

They are currently using the tagline equal marriage but many see this as religious marriage under another name.

In Scotland the Scottish Government has backed equal marriage with high profile politicians such as Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon backing the proposal.

But if you asked Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon would they back two Muslim men marrying in Glasgow Central Mosque, you might find you will have a long wait for a yes response.

Although politicians are doggedly using equal marriage for political gain as all parties have more less jumped on that bandwagon, religious marriage is the elephant in the room.

All major religions have said no.

Whether you are religious or not the human right to freedom of religion exists.

What doesn’t exist is tampering with that human right to freedom of religion, in Scotland, we aren’t going to have the King James Bible replaced by the ‘King Alex’ Bible.

Campaigners of same sex marriage want politicians to enact a law that allows same sex marriage in Scotland.

For the SNP, it is a political judgement call, if they ram this through will religious people vote for independence or will they punish the SNP.

I think people will vote for punishment, if the SNP kicks it into the long grass thinking everyone is so stupid that they can have the indy vote first and then bring this in, they have another thing coming.

In trying to be all things to all people, the SNP will find out they are relevant to none.

SNP MSP Alex Neil said after Holyrood 2011, there was a political tsunami, well tsunami go back out to sea.

The middle ground for the SNP is ‘the compromise’ that they will bring in a bill for gay civil marriage to the Scottish Parliament because the argument put forward would be that civil marriage already exists. Ergo, it could be argued that it falls into the equality part of human rights.

But it isn't as simple as that!

However, across the road at Strasbourg, European judges have ruled that same-sex marriages are not a human right.

Their decision shreds the claim by government ministers that gay marriage is a universal human right.

Their judgment is of course correct; marriage is not a universal human right in the religious sphere because it requires third party consent.

Any right requiring third party consent isn’t a human right.

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.

Should gay couples be allowed to adopt?

I think there is no reason why not, provided they fill the suitable person criteria.

With the European Court of Human Rights, based in the French eastern city of Strasbourg ruling that same-sex marriages are not a human right, it sends a warning note to politicians.

Subjective opinion isn’t fact and ‘I want’ is the same as ‘I am entitled to’.

So the stop gay marriage lobby has received a boost by this judgment.

Strasbourg also opine that 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.

I think that this is a problem that could be overcome by splitting what is marriage in terms of religious and civil marriage.

As I have blogged on before The European Convention on Human Rights is in need of overhaul, although the fundamental principles remain sound, the Convention needs expanded.

And it would be better to expand the Convention rather than rely on case law judgment.

For Governments both north and south of the border in the UK, 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.

This could be a stumbling block which makes any law north or south of the border incompetent.

UK Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said:

“Put simply, it’s not right that a couple who love each other and want to formalise a commitment to each other should be denied the right to marry.”

However, the Strasbourg judges ruled that because the French couple were civil partners, they did not have the rights of married people, who in France have the sole right to adopt a child as a couple.

They declared:

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

The judges added that couples who are not married do not enjoy the same status as those who are.
“With regard to married couples, the court considers that in view of the social, personal, and legal consequences of marriage, the applicants’ legal situation could not be said to be comparable to that of married couples.”

The French civil partners, Valerie Gas and Nathalie Dubois, tried to secure marriage rights under clauses that prevent discrimination and protect privacy and family life.

As I said before a complete misunderstanding of human rights law and subsequent entitlement of citizens rights, people may not like it, but religious freedom cannot be tampered with or another human right used as a device to subvert it.

The judgment means that the Strasbourg judges have not discriminated against the plaintive because they were lesbians.

The fight will go on but the Strasbourg ruling certainly puts a spanner in the works of the equal marriage group.

Prior to this judgement, I had already blog that same sex religious marriage was not a human right.

George Laird was right again.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Anonymous said...

A lot of this is bluster, again, George. You talk about freedom of religion, which will still be upheld, but you fail to understand that there are religious bodies who do wish to solemnise same sex marriage who are currently unable to do so. What about the freedom of their religion?

I refuse to be held to ransom by religious organisations of any stripe. Marriage should be for everyone, irrespective of gender, race, religion or creed.

Religions may not like it, that's fine. If they want to maintain bigoted views, that's up to them, but what sort of country allows religious theology to determine who can love one another? Right now, countries like Iran, Zimbabwe and Saudi Arabia. Not for me, thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi George,

Thought you might be interested in the following...

Here is the breakdown of bodies conducting marriage in Scotland (latest figures by organisation from 2010).

1.) Civil (14449)
2.) Church of Scotland (6,005)
3.) Humanist (2,092)
4.) Catholic Church (1,776)

The humanists ( and many of the smaller religions ( are backing same sex marriage and account for a significant number of ceremonies in Scotland.

Also, Marriage is a state institution. It is up to a government to say which organisations they will allow to perform legal marriages.

Individual officiants already have the power to say no to conducting any proposed marriage. This can range from not being serious about the commitment to being a divorced beforehand, as with the Catholic Church. No one is arguing to force people to conduct a marriage ceremony against their beliefs.

What you are arguing is that the government will legislate against other organisations being able to conduct same-sex marriage. Could this cause further problems down the road?