IRELAND: Religious Groups Lose Battle To Insert Marriage "Conscience Clause"
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has ruled out any potential “conscience clause” being inserted in the referendum on marriage equality, despite claims that no voters may be encouraged to vote yes if the move is allowed. As reported in yesterday’s Irish Examiner, Muslim, Quaker, and Christian groups have sent a petition to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald for the clause to be introduced so that people opposed to gay marriage are not forced to legitimatise the changes through their businesses. The request was made after recent high-profile cases involving a baker in the North and a printer in the Republic which both refused to provide services linked to gay marriages. Those behind the petition — including a prominent member of the Quakers, the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, the Council of Imams, and the Reformed Presbyterian Church — have claimed that without a conscience clause these individuals will “risk prosecution” if they hold firm to their beliefs “in employment, worship, or social interaction”.The bakery case in Northern Ireland has not yet been ruled upon. Ireland's referendum is May 22nd.