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Challenges to faith, tradition rock British

Why would officials back a ban on wearing cross necklaces? On kids having best friends? What's going on in the United Kingdom?

Continued from page 3

Will British churches be forced to conduct homosexual marriages?

Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling that, should same-sex marriage be legalized in the UK, British churches will have to marry homosexual couples regardless of their convictions – and they will not be protected by proposed British laws guaranteeing protections in matters of faith and conscience.

The British government has announced it intends to legalize same-sex marriage by 2015, according to the advocacy group Christian Concern. Churches have been assured they will not be required to conduct such ceremonies. However, such promises are worthless, said the European Court when ruling in a French case. The court’s rulings supercede British law because the UK is part of the European Union.

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The court ruled in the French case that same-sex marriage is not a human right, but depends on local law. The European Court rules on

disputes arising from the European Convention on Human Rights which was incorporated into UK law in the Human Rights Act 1998.

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The ruling came as a result of a case involving a French lesbian couple who complained that France would not allow them to adopt a child. The court ruled that, because the couple were civil partners, they did not have the rights of married people, who in France have the sole right to adopt a child as a couple.

However, that could change, explained the court’s specialist in discrimination law, Neil Addison: “Once same-sex marriage has been legalized then the partners to such a marriage are entitled to exactly the same rights as partners in a heterosexual marriage. This means that if same-sex marriage is legalized in the UK it will be illegal for the government to prevent such marriages happening in religious premises.”

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Human rights do not apply in that case, nor in the Facebook controversy where a British judge decided a Christian demoted at work for posting private comments on his Facebook page criticizing gay marriage on moral grounds cannot cite human rights as a defense.

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Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
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