Saskatchewan man wants state to become church – i.e. refuses to marry a gay couple
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan marriage commissioner Orville Nichols thinks the government of Saskatchewan should allow him to refuse to perform marriages of two other citizens — even though the right of those two citizens to marry is the SECULAR law of the land and he is the representative of that SECULAR law.
In this article of November 25, 2008, he (through his lawyer) makes his argument:
Philip Fourie, Nichols’ lawyer, said the lawsuit demands the province give marriage commissioners the legal right to not perform same-sex marriages if it conflicts with their religious beliefs.
“This is clearly a horrible violation of Charter rights,” he said in a release Tuesday
“This problem can be easily fixed by simply allowing the commissioners a right to decline and pass on the ceremony request to another commissioner.”
Nope. Nuh uh. Noway, nohow.
By this same argument, a police officer can refuse to protect the safety of people he considers immoral, like prostitutes and junkies, because their lifestyle violates his religious beliefs and to protect them would be “condoning” how they live. By this argument, a surgeon in the ER can refuse to save the life of a gang member who has just been shot after he himself killed someone (eek! murder! a sin!).
Religious arguments cannot, can not, can NOT be used to justify a member of a secular profession refusing to follow the law of the land.
“The government promised to be different but they are not acting any differently at all on this issue,” he said.
“The pendulum has swung too far in favour of same-sex people and against people of faith.”
Nuh uh, buckaroo. That whining “we’re being picked on, waaaah!” argument just doesn’t fly.
This man is a representative of the SECULAR law of this country. He doesn’t want to represent the SECULAR law of his country, he is perfectly, perfectly free to align himself with a religious institution, and perform marriages of only those people he approves of.
And to say that treating every bloody citizen in the country equally is “against people of faith” is an outrage and a lie. I invite both him and his lawyer to read one of my essays about why anti-gay people cannot use secular law to discriminate religiously against fellow citizens: “Arguments against equal marriage: #2 Same-sex marriages harm the ‘sanctity’ of marriage.”
The law is secular explicitly for the PURPOSE of protecting everyone in this country – including Orville bloody Nichols — from having their rights violated by someone of faith, someone who might have some kind of power over him and who might think his deity wants him to prevent Nichols from doing something that is his right to do. The only reason Nichols doesn’t notice the benefits he dervies from secular law is because his faith is still the majority faith in this country.
But his faith, majority or not, still does not allow him to violate the law when he represents it in a secular capacity. He is perfectly free to perform all the marriages he approves of, as a minister or religious representative. The fact that he wants to extend his religious right in the secular realm demonstrates that he is either an idiot (the charitable interpretation) or that he’s whining because he can’t also be a tyrant. Which is, unfortunately, the more likely interpretation.