Freedom of Conscience
Several mayors of France have indicated they will refuse to marry gay couples, invoking their freedom of conscience. François Hollande said they had a right to do this. In an article dated November 21, Yves Daoudal looks more closely at this potential act of rebellion against Taubira's law.
François Hollande declared yesterday to the mayors:
"The mayors are representatives of the State. If the law passes, they will have to enforce it, but I hear you and I say that possibilities for delegating exist. They can be broadened and there is always freedom of conscience. My concept of the Republic holds true in all domains, and in a way it is laïcité, equality. The law applies to everyone, but nonetheless it respects freedom of conscience."
Note: By "delegating" he means the ceremony can be delegated to another official in the City Hall.
Some believed that François Hollande was opening the way to conscientious objection. But that's not what he said, and anyway (I'm repeating myself but no one seems to understand), there can be no recognition of a right to conscientious objection in this matter since the law does not speak of homosexual marriage but merely blurs the distinctions between the sexes.
Note: The law in question legalizes "marriage for everyone", not "homosexual marriage." I believe the mentally retarded are not included in the word "everyone".
So François Hollande reminded the mayors that they had a conscience and that they were never obligated to act against their conscience. And it happens that some have already refused to proceed with a marriage. An example was provided by Bruno le Roux (adjunct mayor of Merignac, near Bordeaux): "I know a mayor who refused to marry his ex-wife and her lover."
Since homosexual "marriage" promises to increase problems of conscience, François Hollande proposes a broadening of the possibility of delegating to include all municipal councilors. There's bound to be someone who will agree to do it.
Be that as it may, Elysée Palace stresses that this "freedom of conscience" will not be written into the law, and Christiane Taubira (minister of Justice, and sponsor of the bill) thunders that the right to be married in the hometown of one of the spouses, a right that has "not changed since 1804, will not be subject to derogation", that "the mayors and the adjuncts celebrate marriages in the name of the State", and that the president only reminded the mayors that "they can delegate the ceremony, as the law allows, to other members of the city council."
In fact, what the law allows is for the mayor to delegate the task to a councilor on the condition that he (the mayor) cannot do it. It seems that Hollande was considering allowing the mayor to delegate even if he were able to perform the ceremony. But for Taubira, the mayor will have to call in sick…
And here we see that there is a hitch after all…
Meanwhile, the homosexualists lashed out against the president, denouncing an unacceptable backing off, while ecologist deputy Noël Mamère called it a capitulation.
They will not agree that someone can have freedom of conscience. They agree only to the dictatorship of homosexuals.
Note: The new bill, the demonstrations against it, and the implications of "freedom of conscience" have led some to suggest either that civil marriage be eliminated entirely and only religious marriage retained, or that those who marry religiously should not be penalized for not marrying civilly, considering that one has "freedom of conscience." In other words, if gays can marry in the name of "equality" why isn't a religious ceremony also considered "equal"?
A reader at Le Figaro left an interesting comment on the meaninglessness of civil marriage:
- Marriage, from the point of view of a civil ceremony, does not mean very much any more, since it is no longer connected to our former morals and there is a sizable majority that end in divorce… times change and for me the simplest thing would be to just stop it now and to keep only the religious ceremony for believers. Today marriage is nothing but another money pump (lawyers specializing in divorce have become a separate profession) and a phony tax break that only penalizes unmarried people who provide the State, via revenue and inheritance taxes, with the lions' share (…)
At his blog Ivan Rioufol of Le Figaro asks:
- Homosexual marriage cannot be taken for granted. This is what François Hollande implied when he acknowledged to the mayors of France a "freedom of conscience." (…) Freedom of conscience offers an argument for those who question the legitimacy of penalizing religious ceremonies performed without the civil ceremony. Why would justice and equality, demanded by those who promote gay marriage, not apply to those who would rather get married only in the Church, or even those who choose concubinage or the PACS (civil union)? (…) Why continue to subordinate the validity of a religious marriage to a civil ceremony that is now questionable?
If I understand this, it means that François Hollande is running the risk of completely discrediting the civil ceremony by opening it to "everyone" in the name of equality. If a mayor can refuse to marry a couple, if thousands demonstrate against the new law, then it is a law that should not be passed. If equality is the major criterion, why isn't a Christian marriage equal to a gay marriage?
Also, do Muslims get married in civil ceremonies? And if not, why?
Here is one last question. How come the mayors who refuse to obey the law, on the grounds that it goes against their conscience, are not considered to be "racists" and homophobic? By disobeying this law, are they not revealing that they are prejudiced against gays? And yet it was an egalitarian Socialist president who granted them freedom of conscience to refuse to perform the ceremony!
Possibly Hollande did not think this one through. If the bill is defeated it will be a major blow to the Socialists. Even if it passes, there's bound to be radioactive fallout.