Saturday, February 03, 2007

High on persecution in Saskabush

So-Con crybabies are getting all colicky again over the recent Human Rights Commission hearing being held to determine if Orville Nichols, a Saskatchewan marriage commissioner (and bigot), is guilty of discriminating against a gay couple he refused to marry on religious grounds. The tribunal has deferred the decision until the spring, but it's indicated that it isn't buying Nichols' argument that same-sex marriage wasn't law when he became a commissioner in 1983, therefore he should be exempt from performing them. Unfortunately for Orville, the lawyer for the Saskatchewan justice department defines the marriage commissioner's job as:

"The function of a marriage commissioner is to provide the service without a distinction based on religion, without a distinction based on any of the proven grounds of discrimination."

Oh, the hue and cry from the wingnut gallery! Social conservatives are positively spasmodic as they're gripped in the throes of a collective persecution high, whimpering "religious discrimination!", and pointing to this case as "another example" of how religion is "under attack!!!". Break out the violins!

Under Canada's same-sex marriage law, religious protection exists for clergy, who have the right to opt out of performing the marriages on religious grounds. But marriage commissioners aren't clergy, they're civil servants. As government officials providing a public service, they must work within the parameters of the law, and they don't get to choose which law. Same-sex marriage is the law; a marriage commissioner's job is to provide the service, not pass personal moral judgments on it.

And if they don't like it, Walmart is always hiring greeters.