Following a recent case in France where a mayor refused to do his public duty and marry a same-sex couple, there will no doubt be calls for a conscience clause for registrars in the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Bill.
By deciding to allow same-sex marriages MSPs will have decreed that the state will no longer allow discrimination against gay and lesbian people in the public sphere. If would therefore be totally illogical, not to say unkind, to allow state employees like registrars the conscientious right to uniquely discriminate on the grounds of sexuality.
In the public sphere everyone is either equal or we are not.
After the bill is law, public servants will, like anybody, be free to think and believe whatever they like about anyone else – but, like everybody, they will be subject to the laws of the land. Like the law in France, our new bill will simply define one more issue on which discrimination by the state must end.
Humanist Society Scotland