Equal treatment

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Dr Euan Dodds (Letters, 1 July) suggests that public servants such as registrars could end up in prison for opposing same-sex marriage in Scotland. The suggestion is absurd.

First of all, discrimination in the UK is a civil wrong, not a criminal offence.

Secondly, it is local councils, not individual registrars, that will be responsible for ensuring that same-sex civil marriages are properly available.

In the highly unlikely event of a local council failing to provide a same-sex marriage service, any civil compensation claim would be against the council, not against registrars.

Thirdly, it is already well established in law that so long as an employee does their job professionally, and without harassing colleagues or customers, they are free to hold and express a personal opinion in disagreement with same-sex marriage. The new legislation will not change that.

Registration of births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships is a civil and administrative job, not a religious one.

Local councils have been successfully providing civil partnership registration services in all parts of Scotland for years now, and we are sure that will be the case for same-sex marriages also.

Tim Hopkins

Equality Network

Bernard Street

Edinburgh

Dr Euan Dodds asks what assurances public servants, such as registrars refusing to participate in same-sex marriages, will be given that they will not be subject to legal challenge.

Hopefully no assurances at all. They should be treated no differently to a public servant who refuses to marry an inter-racial couple on grounds of “conscience”.

(Dr) Stephen Moreton

Marina Avenue

Warrington, Cheshire

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