Homosexual Marriage and the Conscience Clause: a possible compromise?

So the homosexual marriage referendum passed in the Republic. As Mick noted below this makes Northern Ireland the only place in the UK and Ireland without same sex marriage though not the only place in the British Isles.

The Isle of Mann has civil partnership but not homosexual marriage whilst Jersey in the Channel Isles has civil partnerships and is considering homosexual marriage.

More interesting perhaps is Guernsey’s proposal of “Union Civile” which allows for partnerships between any two people and permits them subsequently to get married in a church but requires neither that they do so nor that a church agree to marry them. This complete separation of church and state could provide protections for all parties and is being proposed by Guernsey’s chief minister Jonathan Le Tocq who is leader of the Church on the Rock, which appears to be an evangelical church affiliated with the New Wine movement. It has been welcomed enthusiastically by LGBTI groups in Guernsey.

This concept of complete separation of church and state is not typical of the views of Calvin and Knox but has an honourable tradition within evangelical Christianity for example within the Gospel Hall movement (Brethren). Gladys Ganiel notes Nick Park from Dublin’s Anabaptist argument. Dr. Ganiel’s comments are worth repeating in full:

What Park would prefer is for both the state and the churches to give up their efforts to ‘own’ marriage, in the sense of imposing their own definitions on the rest of society, including who may or may not marry and for what reasons. Rather, he recommends broadening the Civil Partnership Act to make it possible for any two adults to gain legal protection in areas like taxation, property and inheritance (p. 155), and returning marriage to the ‘community’ where groups (Christians and non-Christian alike) can have their own marriages free from the interference of the state.

The problem is that the seemingly irresistible force of the move towards homosexual marriage is now met by the immovable object of the DUP (and others in the Assembly) complete with the Petition of Concern. Attempts to square that circle may centre round the courts but it would be a significant event in a democracy for the judiciary not to strike down a law from the legislature but rather to seek to force it to make a given law.

Whilst this may have the makings of something of a “Mexican standoff” There could, however, be a compromise.

One of the greatest concerns Christians (and others) have is that their freedom of conscience will be denied by an aggressive interpretation of secularism, couched in human rights terms, which forces through others rights against theirs. That is the fundamental intellectual basis behind the proposed Conscience Clause.

The Conscience Clause is of course likely to be prevented by Sinn Fein (and others) using a Petition of Concern.

Therein clearly lies the possibility of a compromise: The DUP agree to allow some sort of homosexual marriage bill to pass and in return Sinn Fein allows a Conscience Clause.

Compromise on this subject might be difficult but we have had greater compromises previously and such an agreement could provide a way out for all sides possibly even demonstrating a way forward for other societies as well.

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  • Granni Trixie

    It’s not so much knowledge as a certificate awarded for having passed exams in religious education (amazingly I have one myself!)
    In NI this is Awarded by St Mary’s But don’t think you can access the course in Stranmillis

    I suppose the rationale is that as well as requiring teachers to teach RE exam classes, they are also required for general pastoral/religion classes for all forms in the school (these are less specialist).

    Personally I believe that all teachers are teachers of morals – you are always implying where you stand in the classroom. Keeps you on your toes!

  • NMS

    Chris – It appears to me to a vanity project, perhaps of some of those inside the Ulster Council and their Provo buddies. Funding was also freely available, without too much hassle, promised by the Provos as their “Bertie Bowl”, Centre Georges Pompidou. Politicians like vanity projects, they create short-term construction jobs and become a “lasting legacy”.

    The State portion of funding for the current re-development of Páirc UíChaoimh in Cork has not been cleared, because a detailed examination of the business plan by the Civil Servants suggests it doesn’t hold water. The NI administrative structure doesn’t seem to carry out such reviews. Clones is far more centrally located and is also located in a country where tickets to sporting events are VAT exempt. Also accrued surplus income is covered by a sporting exemption (Section 235, Taxes Consolidation Act 1997). The very limited CASC legislation in the UK would see any surplus generated by a redeveloped ground taxable and also tickets to matches liable to VAT.

    Capital funding for sports in Ireland (the State) is also tight and is allocated carefully in proportion to participation.sport by sport. Funding for any major redevelopment of Clones would come from the GAA pot, meaning other projects would suffer.

    A redeveloped ground is not viable without substantial non-sporting usage, i.e. concerts or similar open air events, which require a decent local population, which Belfast has. While the GAA in Ireland (the State) steers clear of party politics, I never get the same feeling from the dominant forces inside the Ulster Council.

    To sum up, free money, no proper business plan required, little chance of similar funding from the Irish Government

  • Carl Mark

    Yet it leaped into the fray, went the whole extra mile, collected at conference, made speech’s and stood with fundamental outrage beside the bakers.
    It could have went tut tut and moved on, but chose not to.
    their own fault, made their bed, hoisted on their petard! pick the one you like but don’t try to blame anybody else.

  • Carl Mark

    I must say your name is very well picked,
    So some throwback bullies someone because he is gay and you blame the victim!
    the force of the state is in a democracy is the manner in which civilised people sort things (for instance they don’t attack police and cause chaos on the streets) and as for the right never to be offended! I don’t think anybody is asking for that but is it too much to expect manners of people.
    And this backlash thing, is that some sort of threat i.e.; if you forget your place we will show you it, type of thing because I don’t know if you have noticed but the Scots, English, Irish and welsh disagree so who is going to be backlashing ten?
    As for the abnormal/normal nonsense, you don’t do either science or logic do you?

  • Carl Mark

    But sure if that is the language he wants to use then it should be ok with you.

  • Pasty2012

    If the DUP bring down the Assembly then it is one of many things that Westminster will enact, along with the Irish Language Act which the British Government signed up to and is only being stopped by the DUP and UUP. Of course the Unionists may think that the only thing the British will do while taking power back is to introduce Welfare Cuts but that would be totally wrong and the Unionist people would have to ask themselves why vote for people who send them into poverty. The PUP should be the people offering the Unionist people the working class political policies yet them keep stepping aside in elections and allowing Right Wing Conservative party’s the free run. They then give off about how Sinn Fein are in Government and they have been left behind since the Agreement, if they ran at every election and built up their voting base they would be in the same position as Sinn Fein but they keep falling for the “Save the Union” crap when the issue isn’t on the voting paper.

  • Robin Keogh

    Its the same everywhere regarding refurbishment of Stadia. When croke park and landsdowne where getting their make over the local residents were up in arms, so too when Wembly got all dolled up. Understandable, all the mess and then the added crowds. Ultimately when its all done and duted it never turns out as bad as expected and the local economy benifits tremendously. Gos knows WB needs it.

  • Robin Keogh

    Mactire below is correct. I think we know why most people are contesting the ruling regarding these threads. I cant say it out loud as I am on a yello card already ;-/

  • Robin Keogh

    Ya right on man

  • Chingford Man

    No, we’re aren’t telling you to do anything. We are taking exception at you trying to tell us which words we can and cannot choose when we debate the subject.

  • Chingford Man

    A phobia, according to Wikipedia, “is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational.”

    I don’t think Turgon suffers from any anxiety disorder. (If he does, I wouldn’t blame him for getting no thanks on Slugger when he shares his normal good sense.)

    You use “homophobia” as a means of denigrating your critics who do not subscribe to the political agenda that you call “lgbt equality” and who do not concede that you suffer disadvantage on grounds of your sexual orientation.

  • Chingford Man

    Of course he can. But if he tries to defend his case in terms of human decency (etc.) he should expect to be reminded of it.

  • Chingford Man

    “Marriage rights for gay people impacts them negatively”

    So what additional rights under gay marriage accrue to gay couples that are not presently available to couples under civil partnerships?

  • Chingford Man

    In addition, if the sexuality of the parties contracting to a marriage should be considered irrelevant (as the “equal marriage” activists desire) on what grounds can such activists insist that the number of contracting parties should be restricted to two?

  • Gaygael

    Ok. So you don’t concede that I and others suffer disadvantage on the basis of our sexual orientation. I will only focus on sexual orientation and not gender identity, as you may not be aware of the distinct differences and overlaps.
    Answer these questions. And I’m exclusively talking about sexual orientation.

    Do kids get bullied at school for being or perceived to be heterosexual?
    Do kids get bullied at school for being or perceived to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual?

    Do people get refused goods, facilities and services for being or perceived to be heterosexual?
    Do people get refused goods, facilities and services for being or perceived to be gay, lesbian or bisexual?

    Do people get treated differently in employment for being or perceived to be heterosexual?
    Do people get treated differently in employment for being or perceived to be gay, lesbian or bisexual?

    Do people have crimes committed against them for being or perceived to be heterosexual?
    Do people have crimes committed against them for being or perceived to be lesbian, gay or bisexual?

    Here is some handy stats.
    280 hate incidents and 179 hate crimes reported. Nevermind the vast under reporting.

    I would have provided links, but it kept jumping. I have recurring problems with disqus being buggy.

    Now, tell me again how I don’t suffer disadvantage on the basis of my sexual orientation.

  • Gaygael

    And there is a definition of homophobia in the Oxford English Dictionary. Look it up and see if it rings true.

  • Chingford Man

    Have seen it and it doesn’t ring true for me, or, from what I’ve read of his work, Turgon.

    I repeat: stop insinuating that your critics are motivated by fear or prejudice.

  • Gaygael

    Then you need to go through his back catalogue.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’m a SME myself, have been since the 1970s, and only too aware of the existing problems for anyone attempting to trade over this long period. But where would this licence to discriminate end? How many employees and what degree of prejudice is permissible? Just like “everyone should be free to act as they wish”, your comment is dramatic, but the real test comes in framing ANY permission for active discrimination that would not contradict the equality legislation.

    More importantly, when this sliver of libertarianism has opened the cracks for more seriously focused discrimination, and this has been extended to more sizeable commercial enterprises in the public sphere, how do you react when you are denied work, when you are denied food or accommodation should someone feel that in the light of the Shankill Butchers or the murder of civilians in the course of the bombing campaign, they would not engage in services with anyone from the portion of the community that the perpetrators of these atrocities came from? This is an awkward example, yes, but the point I’m rather crudely making is that the anti-discrimination legislation protects each and every one of us from the discriminatory practices of others. The concept of “conscience” is legally unworkable with anti-discriminatory protection for us all. You have to choose one or the other in practice.

    Perhaps if you have an actual detailed legal solution to these problems you might perhaps post it! I would value actually seeing how this might be accommodated in the real world we all live in.

  • chrisjones2

    Indeed SF recently ganged up with the DUP to ensure we run a Catholic Teacher Training College and a Proddie one at ruinous expense. The argument was that Catholic teachers must be trained in a Catholic ethos

  • chrisjones2

    Still no answer Robin?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I try and be polite, yes, but sometimes the red mist hits me and I fail. As an Anarchist in my salad days, Mac tyre, I can see that there may be some honest libertarians do not understand the issue and believe that people should simply “be free to act as they think and feel” as well as believing that “no one should suffer discrimination”, people who do not understand the legal niceties and think intuitively that these two things can somehow be balanced. This sort of pipe dream is not an option for any of us who have been striving for Civil Rights since Benburb and the Coalisalnd march, who have looked into law over most of our lives on these issues and are only too painfully aware that they are irreconcilable.

    And, as you suggest, there are also others who understand the issues and wish for the anti-discrimination legislation to unravel in the growing mess of precedent challenges that any “conscience” clause would encourage.

  • Carl Mark

    I love this myth about legalising incest, this only exists in the minds of some posters here.
    Perhaps you could point out the other places in the world that have gay marriage and even have a campaign to legalise incest.
    and nice summery of the equality debate, pity most of it bares no resemblance to reality.
    but tell you what you keep on fighting thing that don’t exist and the rest of us will get on with changing it.

  • Carl Mark

    I can understand why unionists are so upset, it has been a terrible couple of week for them.
    the Wells thing sort of kicked it off (excuse me if I miss anything out or my timeline is of) ,
    Naomi losing her seat was spoiled by Gavin doing his whole bad manners thing,
    Red Sky raised its ugly Head again,
    the whole kingmaker thing turned out to be a daydream,
    The UUP pick up two seats ringing the bell for a battle inside unionism at the next (important) election.
    Asher’s (backed the wrong horse),
    Gay marriage is passed down south and the spotlight focus’s on our wee country,
    Now to top it all, it look like there is a very good [possibility of a leadership battle inside the DUP and we all know that will get dirty quickly.

  • Carl Mark

    really you want to bring up Flegs, and trying to force people to fly them (using violence) you should think these things out first.

  • PeterBrown

    I have attended a number of seminars on the Conscience Clause recently and am not convinced that it is workable – it is a very difficult balance to strike but the lecture by Baroness Hale (lead judge in the English B&B case) is here https://www.supremecourt.uk/docs/speech-140613.pdf

  • PeterBrown

    McCreesh Park is only relevant to the issue of the involvement of the Equality Commission and public money not the issue itself and hopefully that was clear from the post – in relation to the religious discrimination point I haven’t read the judgement if full yet (my copy if only 36 pages but that my be a printing issue) and when i do I’ll look at that (she was a bit all over the place about whether it was a religious or political issue or both in the parts I have read). What I would says is that the comparable English B&B case makes no reference (as far as I remember) to religious discrimination so that would be a new development.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you Peter for a courteous and “to the point” reply. I cannot see how it might be workable in any way myself, though I’ve honestly tried to asses it fully. I know I’m always arguing against the “conscience” issue here, but that’s only a part of my examination of the issue and the polemic one uses on threads seldom shows the range of private thinking that may be going on on these things. For me it is always important to hold ones mind as open to unexplored possibilities as one may, in the hope of extending fairness just a little bit further if such a thing is at all possible. But on this issue I simply cannot see a middle ground so I value the posting of the link and will check it out now.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Your post is rather unclear CM, is this something you consider to be a good or a bad possibility? You should perhaps make your views clearer to permit any who might wish to offer you support in any campaign you may undertake to demand that the state legalise and institutionalise polygamous or polyandrous unions. Certainly such unions have Biblical precedent, are current in parts of Islam and until 1890, when Utah territory sought admission to the United States, were practiced by a significant religious body in the west. While I may not have any personal interest whatsoever in such possibilities, others more adventurous may be strongly encouraged to demand minority rights in this, inspired by your clarion call.

  • Chingford Man

    Oh, my position is quite clear: I am for keeping marriage the way it is.

    I was mischievously pointing out to those who disagree that, following their own logic, if two people who love each other can have their love recognised in marriage, why not three? Or more? Why should the law prohibit certain persons in existing close family relationships from marrying?

  • Dan

    I think not

  • Robin Keogh

    Sorry, no answer to what?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    CM, the incest issue has certain dramatically “objective” features, such as the problems to the children of such unions caused by the inevitable limiting the gene pool. The other strong consideration I have encountered is the dangers of a bullying power dynamic in incest, certainly evident in parent/child incest, and the possible harm on immature and impressionable minds which would always find me arguing against paedophilia even between those not related. I have come across all too many people I know well who have survived such experiences and are struggling to live with the very damaging fall out, some from what might be considered as “privileged” circles.

    But in a society where most adults have already had more than one sexual partner as a norm, the possible desire of any mature group of people to formalise such relationships is not too difficult to understand, perhaps? There can be fall out and even damage there also, but not of a comparable nature to the other more psychologically damaging issues of incest and paedophilia.

  • mac tire

    “stop insinuating that your critics are motivated by fear or prejudice [of LGBT].”
    Go on, tell us it is motivated by love – or some other positive thing. I’m sure we will believe you.

  • mac tire

    “I am for keeping marriage the way it is.”
    There were 13 divorces an hour in England and Wales in 2012.
    One in seven divorces were granted as a result of adultery.
    9% of couples divorcing had both been divorced before.
    It is expected that 42% of marriages will end in divorce.
    48% of couples divorcing had at least one child aged under 16 living with the family.

    The above are figures for England and Wales only.

    http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2010/jan/28/divorce-rates-marriage-ons

    As a person who has been happily and faithfully married for the last 25 years, I have seen so many marriages fail because, it seems, “the number of contracting parties” has not been “restricted to two”. Heterosexuals got there first, it seems.

  • mac tire

    Don’t forget that British Royalty essentially ignored them on their recent visit to Ireland.

  • Carl Mark

    Forgot Prince Charles shaking the hand of the Anti Christ and visiting St Pats, one has to wonder how the sectarian prancing outside it will be explained away by our loyal friends.

  • Carl Mark

    Seaan, I think the real reason behind all this incest nonsense is its simply a smoke screen.
    what would be a lot of fun would be watching the reaction of a live audience in say England or Scotland if some of the outlandish homophobic BS was said out loud in front of them.
    The best reaction they could hope for would be people mistaken it for a alternative comedy routine!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Carl, I meet that “live audience” when I visit London and meet friends at the Middle Temple or at Chelsea parties and all of this comes up. A few well known figures have even asked me “how can you endure living there?” I point out that they know me and my opinions, and so cannot assume that everyone here holds such benighted views. I hope it does some good.

    I know that the “incest nonsense ” is perhaps most often mendaciously mentioned to imply “guilt by association”, but felt that rehearsing the actual issues of difference would not go amiss at all.

  • Carl Mark

    certainly wont meet many in Westminster!

  • Pete

    Why should incest be illegal? Surely people in love with their relatives in that way should be treated equally?

  • Pete

    About gene pool problems, nobody objects to heterosexual recessive disease carriers from mating.

  • Chingford Man

    Not yet.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    See the Protestant Coalition facebook page for a glimpse of what the (hopefully only) extremists are thinking.

    I joked about how the Queen and PoW would be considered Lundies.

    I joked too soon…

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Interesting way to be thinking about all of this…….

  • PeterBrown

    Sean
    In terms of the religious discrimination point we have debated elsewhere check out the full English B&B decision where religious discrimination was never raised despite the facts being broadly similar (only in NI?) hence the surprise at that aspect of the decision, the sexual orientation requires the inextricable linking of the issue of gay marriage and sexual orientation of the customer (and here the judge relies on his involvement with Queerspace on my reading but I have not read it word for word yet) and the political opinion is new ground as it means that anything which has been the subject of political campaigning is a protected ground under the regulations (which really does open Pandora’s box). The decision might be legally correct on one or more of those grounds but they all have wider implications….

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Yes, Peter, we did discuss this before, and I’m gratified to find that my own reading was pretty much upheld by the Judgement which considered what I’d described as “motive” or the vendor’s perception of the plaintiff. However, you were also correct in that this would not have been possible without the vendor’s own evidence having made the motive pretty clear. Had they simply lied, this evaluation would have been much more problematic. But I’m not unaware myself of possible issues regarding “political campaigning”, the implications of which I’ve discussed with a law lord some years back.

    My real concern, and perhaps you are the single person posting here who might be able to answer me comprehensively on this, is how any licensing of even limited discriminatory practice in the form of a conscience clause can be framed without unravelling the equality legislation.

    I know that this is a “how long is a piece of string” question, and that real testing of these concepts requires legislation, actual time and place situations, and legal evaluation of the value of legislation in regard to human actions, but as a bit of a libertarian with a distrust of any constraint on freedoms, I’ve tried to think it through and simply cannot see any compromise holding.

  • Carl Mark

    Could I refer you to Seaan’s answer, a great many incestuous relationship, particularly cross generational ones involve bullying and are damaging to at least one party involved.
    also the question of the health of any child produced is endangered by the parents DNA being too similar.
    Of course it says more about those trying the cheap homophobic trick of making a comparison between gay people and those engaged in incest.
    The relationship only exists in the minds of the uninformed who are willing to stoop to any level to besmirch those who they disapprove off.
    Does that answer your question.

  • Carl Mark

    I don’t believe they do insist, as a matter of fact I have never heard ANY SUPPORTER OF GAY MARRIAGE BRING IT UP.

    perhaps you could show us where ,” such activists insist that the number of contracting parties should be restricted to two”
    like I say please show some proof!

  • Carl Mark

    explain please!

  • Carl Mark

    Just checked it out!
    this is going to cause problems, God save our gracious Lundy, will not sound as good.
    plus where are the pics of QE2 and HRH for th bonfires going to come from.

  • Chingford Man

    Try reading my posts again as you haven’t understood them.

  • Carl Mark

    Oh I think I understand them completely,
    In order to muddy the waters incest and polygamy are introduced, Heterosexual one to one marriage has been in existence for a long time but I have never heard any poster on this site claim that it was unfair to either those involved in incest or group marriage.
    Now when gay marriage is raised as a subject it suddenly become unfair to extend marriage to the LGBT community this sudden concern for incestuous or Mormon style marriages appears.
    Put simply, this is a open the floodgates argument which is typical of the tactics used by those who have been against progress.
    I am quite sure similar irrelevant comparisons were made during the campaign for the abolition of slavery in the Americas,
    or when the vote was being extended to all men over 21.
    but I will say one thing, when the debate starts in earnest (very soon I hope) feel free to produce these arguments to the voting public we seem how badly wrong it went for Well’s when he made stupid unfounded viscous statements about the Gay community, and I want to see the reaction when you bring it up (think Mrs white on televised election debate) it will be fun.

  • Turgon

    There is a risk of a child born to two siblings having inherited conditions: this is due to autosomal recessive conditions (you do not know you are a carrier until one of your children is born affected). The exact risk is difficult to be sure of but cousin marriage does not actually produce an especially high rate of children with such abnormalities.

    However, the rate would undoubtedly be increased with siblings children so the theory is maybe consenting adult incest should be banned on that basis.

    Therein lies the problem Pete alludes to. The risk for children would be less than one in four; certainly less than one in two.

    However, if a couple have had a child with an autosomal recessive condition (such as Cystic Fibrosis) there is a 1 in 4 chance any subsequent children will have the same condition.

    By the logic of banning incest to prevent children with such genetic abnormalities any couple who have had a child with an autosomal recessive condition should be banned from having further sexual activity with one another activity lest another baby with said condition is produced.

    It gets worse. If a person has an autosomal dominant condition there is a 1 in 2 chance any child they have will inherit the condition. As such if the reason for banning incest is to prevent children with genetic abnormalities being born the logic then would be that one should ban people with autosomal dominant conditions from having sex at all lest they produce children with abnormalities.

    Therein lies the central problem with the genetic defect reason for banning incest. That logic very rapidly produces a eugenics nightmare as one bans all sorts of other people having sex. Alternatively it becomes a nonsense as one is using a risk of genetic defects to ban incest whilst others have a much higher risk but their sexual activity is allowed.

    The reason for banning consenting adult incest can be power difference abusive relationships but that reason used to be used to ban homosexual relationships or have the homosexual age of consent different to the heterosexual one. It also denies free choice to adults for paternalistic reasons and offends against the autonomy of those who wish to take part in consensual adult incest.

    The next reason can be moral but that was also used previously to ban homosexuality.

    The explanation for banning incest of avoiding children with genetic defects whilst allowing people who have had a child with an autosomal recessive condition to have further sex or indeed allow people with autosomal dominant conditions to have sex simply does not stand up to any form of logical scrutiny.

  • John Collins

    Turgon. I worked as a mental health nurse throughout my career. I only ever encountered about four or five Protestants as colleagues. However when I asked at least two of those, one from Sligo and the other was from Tipperary, why there were no other Protestants working in our sphere, their answers were informative. They both said most Protestants would not work in such a lowly career. For many years, at least up to the 1960s, there was a requirement in the mental health area to recruit a certain number of Protestants, in order to bring Protestant clients to Church Services etc. There was always great difficulty in getting people from the relevant community to apply. I just think the same might apply to the Gardaí. Is there any evidence that Protestants who applied for similar professions in Ireland were discriminated against?

  • Carl Mark

    Interesting point, I was aware of recessive genes but how can this in any way related to gay marriage.
    Now when he brought a new red herring I asked him to explain its relevance to the debate in question.
    Interestingly both yourself and Pete chose to miss the point that most incestail relationships are cross generational and one of the participants is being forced one way or another, we also call this child abuse.
    That you should attempt to compare what rights two consenting adults have to the rights of someone (the majority of whom are heterosexuals) abusing children in their carecare is very strange indeed.
    Do either of you realise how decent people will react if you come out with such ridiculous nonsense.
    I you don’t believe me check out Well,s and Mrs white in debate and consider that the most homophobic party in these is Islands was obliged to ditch (sorry ,he took time of to be with his family) one of their minister because of the public outrage over his outrageous anti gay remarks and Mrs white is a figure of fun.

  • Turgon

    Ah yes anecdote as evidence. Since Robin Keogh has demonstrated that there is only a marginal difference in average social class between Protestants and Catholics we can be pretty sure that your experience even if true conveys no useful information as to employment of Protestants except in that it seems (though it is only anecdote and as such flawed) that Protestants are underrepresented in state employment.

  • John Collins

    Alright you seem to know more about the employment of Protestants in two of the largest Health Boards in the South Of Ireland than a person who worked in these areas for close on forty years. I have never in all those years heard a single case of a Protestant, or indeed anybody else, complaining that they were discriminated against in the selection process, for any nursing posts, on religious grounds. Of course it might be just the case that Protestants are over represented in the top echelons of the legal and banking professions in the Republic, as Garrett Fitzgerald showed in a survey he conducted some years ago.

  • Sp12

    “Two equally qualified teachers” with one having a qualification the other does not?
    Yeah, wanna try that one again?

  • Sp12

    Doh indeed Chris.
    Can you see where you went wrong there with that classic Unionist “angry about something that is only real in your head” statement?

  • puffen

    Interesting points, now can you sub this, so that tabloid reader can understand ?

  • Carl Mark

    just a little point, should your concern for equal marriage rights for those involved in incest not be directed towards levelling the field with Heterosexual marriage, since by definition most incest takes place inside such unions.
    Of course laws protecting children from abuse will have to be changed allowing parents to have sex with their children and of course the age restrictions on sexual activity will have to be removed.
    If this sort of nonsense is the level of debate that the anti equality camp will resort to when the debate opens in earnest then I am happy enough and look forward to a good laugh and a easy victory.

  • Reader

    Gaygael: Do you imagine what it might be like for straight men to be telling me as a gay person what language is and isn’t offensive or appropriate.
    I am surprised at you using the word ‘straight’. Is it OK with you if I use the term to refer to myself; or is there a risk that you might at some point take offence at the implications?

  • Reader

    notimetoshine: I myself find evangelical Christians to be repugnant…
    Is it all the singing and clapping that bothers you? I have more of a problem with fundamentalist [anything].

  • Reader

    apollox: We’ll have new progressive issues to debate, and the only people looking to reverse course will be the fringe lunatics.
    If you have a list we could get it all delivered now.

  • Reader

    Stranmillis students can get the qualification as a sort of extra-mural effort from Glasgow (a few long essays sent by email for marking). My wife has such a qualification, and realistically it would allow her to stand in for a few RE classes in a Primary school while not outraging a conservatively minded head teacher.
    I would be surprised if it made the slightest difference in a Physics or Maths class.