The Conscience Clause presently being considered by Lagan Valley MLA Paul Givan, DUP states that businesses could refuse service where someone feels they are required to “endorse a same-sex sexual relationship in violation of his/her faith identity.”
This means that a gay couple could be refused the rental of a house or be kicked out of a restaurant, just for being in love.
I don’t want to live in a country that treats any citizen in that way.
But my concern is wider than this. Should we allow this Clause to pass into legislation it is quite possible that there will be unintended consequences. For example, if you are allowed not to serve a person because of their ‘same sex sexual relationship’, surely then it could be possible to refuse to employ them?
And if you can refuse to employ someone because of their ‘same sex sexual relationship’, how long before the interpretation of something be a violation of his/her faith identity allows people to manipulate the law to their advantage?
For example, if a business owner is convinced of the religious argument for eugenics, should he or she be able to choose not to serve people he considers of lesser ability as serving them would be a violation of his/her faith identity? If someone’s pacifism is based on religious beliefs should it be acceptable for them not to serve members of the armed forces as serving them would be a violation of his/her faith identity.
Or if they believe the Pope is the anti-Christ can they decide not to serve Catholics? Can a creationist decide not to serve atheists or scientists? If a hoteliers’ religious belief tells him that divorce is unacceptable, can he refuse to allow two divorcees to remarry in his hotel? What dark corner of uninformed hatred could this thinking drag us into?
Simon Wiesenthal said, ‘For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.’ Let’s not allow ourselves to be good men and women doing nothing.
I will campaign against this retrograde and dangerous proposal and I would encourage you to do so also.
The DUP is presently undertaking a period of consultation to gauge our reaction to the Clause and I would encourage you to contact your local DUP MLAs to express your concern.or visit go.allout.org/en/a/northern-ireland/ and register your concern