The recent Ashers case has highlighted the fatal flaws with the so called ‘equality agenda’. The gay rights case against Ashers in my view seeks not to be treated equally, but instead for the rights of the gay community to trump the fundamental right to freedom of conscience which is enshrined within the European Human Rights Act 1998.
The problem with the notion of equality is like much of the legislation that supposedly underpins it; ‘equality’ has no boundaries, no parameters and is completely ambiguous. It can mean almost anything to any person. It is in essence bad law because it is unclear and is open to wildly different interpretations.
There are those who undoubtedly would be supporters of the gay rights movement who have recognised that the case against Ashers has done serious damage to their ‘cause’. The left wing gay rights movement aggressively rant and rave about religious fundamentalists yet their own behaviour suggests that they seek to ram their views, their sexuality and their ‘equality’ agenda down everyone else’s throat.
A minister would refuse to marry a Christian and a non-Christian because it is against Biblical teaching so if we follow the notion of equality there should be a movement that seeks equal rights for Christians and non Christians in terms of the right to be married.
Similarly I had a conversation with a person yesterday who is a supporter of gay rights, not of the case against Ashers mind you. When I asked the person if they would support the right of a man to marry three adult women, providing all willingly agreed, they responded that they would not because they felt that demeaned the women. This sums up the attitude of the left wing equality agenda, if it suits someones purpose and they agree with the cause then equality should mean that the cause they support should be granted whatever it is they demand, yet perversely in this example this equality activist would deny four consenting adults the right to marry because it doesn’t sit well with their personal viewpoint in regards to women’s rights. So my question is who decides when equality applies and when it doesn’t? Who marks the boundaries and who decides when it goes too far? And quite simply, what does equality actually mean?
Define it; articulate it and follow its logical path and you will find that it means whatever a person wants it to mean. So in this regard, and staying with the notion that everyone is equal, then who has the right to judge another and say no to their demand for equality, in relation to any subject? Is it the court of public opinion? Is it society’s current moral compass or is it the court of law?
Should equality- whatever that in reality actually means because it is so fluid and so open ended that anyone can twist it to suit their agenda- trump the rights to someone’s freedom of conscience? Do the equality activists, and especially the gay rights movement, demand that fundamental human rights are trumped by the whims of one section of society? And how do the equality activists pursuing the aggressive gay rights agenda propose to reconcile that with the right of a Christian and others in society to oppose activities that go against their sincerely held religious beliefs.
You see, the equality argument is illogical and it is self-defeating because at its core equality will more often than not have to make a judgement call on which section of a communities rights trump another section of the communities’ rights. It is human nature for people to have sincerely held different views on almost every issue, so therefore the notion that everyone can have what they want all of the time is illogical. It is a conundrum which has arisen due to much of the legislation brought in by New Labour, legislation that flooded through Parliament but was in reality poor and extremely open ended law. Those laws are only really coming to a cross roads now and are beginning to be challenged via the judicial process. The problem is that because the equality law is so open ended and ambiguous, the the will of parliament is not clear, therefore the judicial system is placed in a situation where it should never be- it must interpret a law that has no clear boundaries and which has little legal precedent, make it compatible with ECHR and uphold the notion of equality at the same time.
I can’t help but feel that the judiciary are being given the impossible task of doing what parliament has, as of yet, been unable to do and pass legislation that clearly defines what equality is and where the boundaries of it are. Of course the judiciary cannot pass legislation, that it outside their powers, they are simply there to interpret the legislation passed by parliament.
This leaves us in a situation whereby the judiciary must tread carefully so as not to subvert the will of a parliament which really has no clear view on the issue. It is a minefield and there is no end in sight.
The Ashers case will open the floodgates one way or another and the fault lies not with those in the gay rights movement, they only sought to utilise open ended legislation to the advantage of their cause, the fault lies with those who put this legislation into effect and opened up pandora’s box!
How will Pandora’s box be closed in regards to this subject? I don’t see how it can be. Society must accept that due to competing views and competing rights that all of the people cannot be happy all of the time, therefore the question is how do we ‘distrubute’ equality in the fairest possible way? Is it through the democratic will of parliament passing legislation setting clear boundaries? Yet even I would concede that this leaves the door open for discrimination against minoritiy groups.
So what is the answer to the enigma of equality? I think that no one really knows and no one really has an answer that will please everyone- therefore the current notion of equality is defunct. It needs reframed in a new context and a fair system for challenging discrimation brought forth. At the moment parliament are passing the buck to the judiciary, the judiciary will pass the buck back to parliament and in the meantime the row over the competing rights will trundle on!