Gay Marriage vs. Freedom of Religion

I just heard this on the Michael Coren show a few minutes ago, and sadly, the CBC confirms:
A Regina man told a human rights hearing Wednesday he was devastated when a marriage commissioner refused to marry him and his male partner.
The man, who alleges Orville Nichols discriminated against them because they are a same-sex couple, was testifying at the hearing in Regina.
"I couldn't believe, as a human being, that I wasn't treated as a real person," said the man, whose name cannot be published under order of a human rights tribunal.
He told the hearing he's a very private individual and not what one would call a gay activist.
He testified that when he and his partner made their marriage plans in 2005, they chose Nichols from a list of marriage commissioners on a website.
Nichols, 70, offered his congratulations when the man first told him he was getting married, he said. However, when he told Nichols his partner is a man, Nichols told him he wouldn't do the ceremony because gay marriage is against his beliefs.
Nichols directed the man to another marriage commissioner who performed the ceremony in May 2005.
Taking the witness stand, Nichols discussed his beliefs and said, "God hates homosexuality." He told the tribunal that he doesn't object to gays and lesbians getting married, as long as he isn't asked to perform the ceremony.
Same-sex marriages became more common in Saskatchewan after November 2004, when Saskatchewan Justice Minister Frank Quennell sent a letter notifying all marriage commissioners they must perform same-sex marriages.
The hearing was ordered when the Regina man complained to the Human Rights Commission that he and his partner had been refused the civil service.
The province's human rights code bans discrimination against a person based on sexual orientation.
Nichols had complained to the human rights commission, too, arguing that for the province to require him to perform same-sex ceremonies contrary to his religious beliefs was discriminatory. The commission did not allow that complaint to proceed, however.
Lawyer Anil Pandila has been appointed by the commission to hear the case over two days. The panel has the power to order remedies and penalties.
The office of the attorney general of Saskatchewan has been granted leave to intervene in the hearing.

This is profoundly disturbing news. It's not enough that the couple was able to marry. They wanted to be married by a man whose religious beliefs would not allow him to perform the ceremony.
How many people recall socially liberal elites telling us that this would never happen? Religious beliefs would be respected.
Now, the human rights commission has allowed the complaint of the supposedly wronged gay couple to go through. They have not allowed the complaint of the Christian marriage commissioner to be heard.
According to the article at Canada.com the requested "damages" are to the tune of $5,000. If the gay couple wins their case, Nichols will also be ordered not to refuse his services again, regardless of his beliefs.


Mark said...

liberal elites always deny that newfound rights will deny others any of their existing rights and freedoms. And they are always quick to make religious rights the last ones to uphold, i.e. practically all other rights trump religious rights.

It is a sad day in Canada that a man cannot refuse to perform a "marriage" that conflicts with his religious beliefs. But there's no denying this is exactly what gay rights activists are pursuing and receiving thanks for HRCs across the nation.

hunter said...

You remember the witch hunts in the middle ages, well, human rights tribunals are our new witch hunters! They are hunting religion with a vengence.

Economist for Truth said...

Great post.
Tragic story.

Unfortunately, this type of abuse does not make it to the mainstream media, so the average Canadian is oblivious to what's happening. That's why your blog is so important. Although I'm not convinced that the average Canadian would have much sympathy for the marriage commissioner.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Gays have every right to get married.
What is marriage anyway? Fundamentalist Christians have the highest divorce rates, if anyone mocks marriage it is them.
The pastor though, has every right not to marry the couple even though he is a delusional retard "God hates homosexuality." What a joke. When I got married, I knew an Orthodox Rabbi wouldn't marry me, so I didn't even bother trying, because my wife isn't a convert.

The man who wanted to get married should have simply found a less delusional man of God to perform the ceremony.

Anton said...


You miss the point of the post. The article isn't about whether gays should be allowed to get married or not. It is about how the religious man's (delusionally retarded or not) rights are now being trumped and negated. Why is he being tried before a tribunal but his complaint to the same tribunal is not allowed to be heard?

Conservatives said that this would happen but every one assured us it wouldn't.

It's also interesting that you can get away with calling him a "delusional retard". I wonder what would happen if someone called a proponent of SSM that?

Hmmm, straight to the Human Rights Tribuanl for them I guess.

Ruth said...

BEAJ, Anton is right. You should read the article again. The marriage commissioner congratulated them and then directed them to another marriage commissioner to perform the ceremony because he would not be able to perform it due to his religious beliefs. Their wedding date was not impacted, neither was their ability to get married.
However, they took the guy to court anyway.
As an aside, not mention in this article (but I found it elsewhere and don't have a link) is the fact that the marriage commissioner has refused to perform for straight couples as well. If there has been abuse or the couple really does not have a true interest in getting married, he has in the past directed them to someone else. This has not caused an uproar, so why should refusing his services to a gay couple be a problem?

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Ruth, he congratulated him when he thought he was marrying a woman.

Besides, I'm agreeing with you that this should never have become a case for human rights. The gay couple should have just found someone who would marry them.

I disagree with you when you state gays shouldn't get married. That is a different issue:)

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