(Belated) Saturday story of the week
I was away on hols and missed what I’m sure was usual scintillating debate in the Dail, in this case passing the Civil Partnership Bill on 1 July.
In that debate the minister for Justice Dermot Ahern was half-heartedly pressed to explain why he had rejected religious church leaders and organisations request for an opt out clause on grounds of conscience for public servants and private individuals.
He didn’t answer the private individuals question, but here’s what he said about why public servants could not be allowed to opt out:
“A court clerk might refuse to issue divorce orders because of a religious belief. A fundamentalist Christian Garda might refuse to arrest a person who is breaching a safety order on the basis that the husband is entitled to chastise his wife. A judge might refuse to register a power of attorney in favour of a person’s civil partner.
A Muslim or a Mormon accident and emergency doctor might refuse to treat someone with alcohol poisoning. A social welfare official might refuse to pay a carer’s allowance to a person’s civil partner. A probate officer might refuse to issue a grant of administration to a deceased person’s civil partner.”
The mind boggles. What does Minister Ahern think ‘fundamentalist Christians’ (and I wonder who qualifies) get up to and what’s the source of his info?
And right enough, there must be loads of Irish fundamentalist Christian garda who think ‘wife-chastisement’ is a fair cop ….