The Congress of the People has submitted a bill to Parliament to remove section 6 of the Civil Union Act according to The Citizen.
The bill has been accepted by the portfolio committee on home affairs.
What section 6 does is it allows home affairs officers to refuse to marry same-sex couples on the grounds of their conscience or religious belief.
Deidre Carter, who submitted the bill, said that the change would mean government couldn’t discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation and values.
Now if a home affairs employee refuses to essentially do their job because church doesn’t like it government will be able to discipline them.
I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Cope. Okay they had a very rough start – their party ending up almost collapsing due to infighting before they even hit their first elections, but they do seem to be the party that it is in it for everyone.
I’m an atheist, if I ever wanted to get married, or more accurately found somebody of the opposite sex silly enough to want to marry me, I’d not run into too many problems on this.
And yet opponents to gay marriage have always argued that it is a religious institution defined by religious moral values.
This change in the law represents to me a little bit more than simply an expansion of gay rights.
It is also an expansion of something I think is very important – the idea that my values and ideals should govern my life, not yours.
Far too many people seem to think that they have the right to govern how others think or live or do things – they don’t really.
You may disagree with somebody else doing something, but unless it demonstrably harms others, it really isn’t your business.
You cannot deny people the right to run their own lives because your morals go against their decisions.
In India it is wrong when Hindus attack people for eating beef – not everyone is a Hindu, so why should they have to live by Hindu precepts?
In the Middle East, Islamic dress is enforced for non-Muslims, and how is that acceptable?
My fundamental concept here is this: If you join a group you agree to follow its rules, but if you haven’t joined that group you didn’t agree to anything so why should they get to act as if you did?
And if you’re hired to do a job, you’ve got to do that job. If you don’t want to sell pork and you are hired in a pork butchery, you’re going to have to suck it up and sell the pork.
The same thing goes with marriage, if you’re in home affairs you’ve got to do your job.
If you don’t want to sell pork in a pork butchery don’t apply for that job, if you want to take a brave stand against recognising gay marriage in home affairs, resign.
We have plenty of unemployment in this country, if you aren’t prepared to do the job step aside and let someone who is take a bash at it.
An exception can be made for following orders that harm people, but simply offending people doesn’t strike me as doing harm.
As I said I’m an atheist, a lot of churches claim that not only will I burn in hell for eternity, but that their God who defined such a punishment is just and good for leveling it.
There are things I find offensive, but that is no argument for government action against them. Actual harm has to be demonstrated to make the case.
With gay marriage, no real harm has been demonstrated. Credit where its due – Cope did good here.