Orville Nichols is a marriage commissioner in the Province of Saskatchewan in Canada. Some years ago he refused to marry a gay couple because it was against his religion.
The couple was married by another commissioner but one of the partners (M.J.) filed a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission who ruled that Nichols did not have the right to refuse to marry people on the grounds that it was against his religion. M.J. was awarded $2500.
But that wasn't the end of it. Orville Nichols thought that his rights were being violated. According to CBCNews ...
Nichols appealed that ruling, arguing that his religious beliefs should be protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.This makes perfect sense. It you are an employee of the government then you have to do your job, part of which, in this case, was marrying gay couples. You can't refuse to do your job because it conflicts with your personal prejudices. If that conflict makes it impossible to carry out your duties then you must resign your position.
But in a 39-page decision dated July 17, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Janet McMurty dismissed Nichols' argument, concluding that the human rights tribunal was "correct in its finding that the commission had established discrimination and that accommodation of Mr. Nichols' religious beliefs was not required."
This is not the first time that Nichols has been warned.
He launched his own human rights complaint in 2005, months before he even met M.J., alleging that his religious freedoms would be violated should he be asked to marry same-sex couples. That complaint was dismissed by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission in 2006.In those countries that currently ban gay marriage there's a fear that legalizing gay marriage will lead to situations just like this among those who perform civil ceremonies. That fear is fully justified. Once gay marriage becomes
Religious beliefs can never be used to justify discrimination and religious beliefs do not not qualify as "humans rights" when they are used as excuses to violate the civil rights of others.