Friday, August 02, 2013

Britain: Gay Couple Sue For Right to Church Wedding

This has been getting a lot of attention on the web and in the news, most of which is undeserved. Several points.

* Britain has nothing comparable to our First Amendment, so people screaming "we are next" are delusional.
* While they lack anything as strong as our First Amendment, British and EU law does clearly protect religious conscience. Not even the most wacky court (and they have more than a few) in Europe is going to order churches to start marrying gays.
* They (the complainants) know this. This is a stunt with two objectives, first to get some free publicity and secondly to get social conservatives to all start barking at the moon.

On which note... mission accomplished.

HT: Several blog readers. Thanks for the tips.

2 comments:

michael-in-oceania said...

@John: "This is a stunt with two objectives, first to get some free publicity and secondly to get social conservatives to all start barking at the moon."

I can think of another objective. Bankrupt churches via silly lawsuits.

Corporations attempt this all the time with activist groups. There is even an acronym for this tactic - SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). Several states in the U.S. have "anti-SLAPP" statutes designed to get cases like this dismissed quickly.

However, there is also an old law against this sort of thing, which never gets enforced in my experience. It is called "Barratry."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barratry_%28common_law%29

Given the infamously litigious nature of U.S. society, I can definitely see this as a tactic to either silence or bankrupt traditional churches. Thus, I think it would be a good idea for the legal counsel of all churches to get very familiar with either the laws against barratry, or the anti-SLAPP statutes in their jurisdictions.

bob said...

Her Majesty's government has no history of interfering with the church. None at all. Just ask the Abbott of Glastonbury.