herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Archbishop wrong to look for conscience clause - Carey

Former Government Minister Pat Carey said today that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was wrong to seek a conscience clause for businesses who would refuse to provide services for same sex weddings.

The Dublin archbishop has called for a legal clause to allow lay people express religious objections without breaking equality laws.

Conscience

"Our experience in legislating for conscience issues has not been good," said Mr Carey. "I think the lawyers will be delighted if there is a conscience clause. They would be the only beneficiaries."

He said there are people on both sides of any argument "only looking for the opportunity to be insulted. They'll rush to the courts, injunct this, that and the other. I don't think it's the wisest suggestion the archbishop has come up with".

Speaking on Newstalk's Breakfast Show, he said: "I don't know if conscience should enter into business to any great extent. Businesses are, by definition, commercial operations.

"We're down to will the local baker bake a cake for a gay couple or something like that. Or will they print the wedding invitations?," he said.

"Maybe in a small town it's going to prove difficult, but I would urge people just to have common sense and just try to keep the dead hand of the State away from much of this kind of activity."

Mr Carey (67) said he would also prefer if ministers of religion did not have a conscience clause to refuse to officiate same sex marriages which is contained in the Marriage Bill 2015.

The former Fianna Fail minister, who came out as gay last month, said previously he regretted not having the courage to come out while he was still active in politics.

one-sided

Meanwhile, there is an endless and "one-sided" promotion of the Yes vote for same-sex marriage taking place across the airwaves, according to the Director of the Iona Institute.

David Quinn of the Christian think-tank body made the comments as Dr John Crown, a senator, urged a Yes vote while he was a panellist on Marian Finucane's RTE Radio One show.

Mr Quinn, who is also a columnist with the Irish Independent, said that he couldn't think of a "single example" of somebody going on air to one of these programmes and saying 'I'm voting No'.

"I'm glad that Marian Finucane challenged him, that's a good thing all right," Mr Quinn added. "But there's basically endless and one-sided promotion of the Yes vote taking place across the airwaves anyway"

He said that it was not just RTE, it's across the airwaves.

"Fairness and impartiality on the airwaves is as essential to proper democratic debate" he said.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International activists and supporters assembled at a 1,000-strong rally to launch its campaign for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum on May 22.

Executive director Colm O'Gorman said it was a historic date. At the event, singer Gavin Brennan was surprised as his boyfriend Jamie proposed to him on stage - he accepted.

fdillon@herald.ie

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