Sunday, May 18, 2008

The World of Work is Secular

In yet another case study of the resurgence of religion, and the way in which the state's pandering to it post-9/11 has caused upswings of bigotry instead of the opposite, read the case of Lilian Ladele. She's a civil registrar in Islington, north London, who is suing for the right to discriminate; yes, she's suing because she believes her religion has been legislated into enough of a position of privilege that she can get away with not marrying gay couples in civil partnerships. As Janine at Stroppyblog quite rightly points out, it's not clear whether or not gay couples in Islington can refuse to get married by her!

Of course the only correct outcome is to say 'do your (secular) job or get fired', and it's shocking to think that we are back in an age where people feel they can get away with opting out of aspects of their job which don't sit well with their religious beliefs. But Ladele's employer is covered by the Civil Partnership Act and the Sexual Orientation Regulations, neither of which ended up with civil opt-outs.

The Sexual Orientation Regulations have been criticised by some religious groups who say people will not be allowed to act according to faith.

Yes, I remember - I was there with my camera when the religious challenge to the secular law crashed and burned, but it wasn't without a tremendous fight, both inside and outside Parliament. But they did fail, and Ladele isn't being discriminated against - she's suing for the right to be a bigot. She says she can't go against what it says in the Bible, but a) it doesn't say she's not allowed to conduct gay weddings and b) it's that inconsistent argument again, isn't it? Bet she wears mixed fibres.

No comments: