Oct 26, 2020

Two men or two women can marry, but there’s no law saying you have to agree with it. Many act as though there is, particularly in universities and in schools.

We must defend the right to say that marriage is only between a man and a woman. The good news is that people have taken a courageous stand. Now there are great precedents set by our highest courts. These protect our freedoms – providing we are vigilant.

It has been heartening that the UK Government recently demanded that schools have balance where equality issues are discussed. That means there must be balance on same-sex marriage.

The same issues are being fought over in the United States. Religious groups have been banned from meeting on university campuses because their disagreement with same-sex marriage is alleged to be discriminatory.

Yet the US Supreme Court ruled against this back in 2017 in a case concerning discrimination against the Lutheran Church. The Court said that public bodies cannot treat an individual or organisation less favourably just because they are religious. Discrimination laws can’t be used to discriminate.

Universities have dragged their feet on this ruling. In 2018 the University of Iowa deregistered the local chapter of Business Leaders in Christ because they didn’t agree with same-sex marriage. The university went on to deregister 38 other organisations that refused to abandon their religious or ideological commitments, including Sikh, Muslim and Chinese student organisations.

Now from November the United States’ Department of Education will be enforcing new rules that ensure public educational institutions cannot discriminate against religious individuals and organisations that hold to the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

This is good news. Freedom of association depends on being free to live out what you believe. If a student group doesn’t believe in same-sex marriage, whether they are Christian, Muslim, Sikh or Hindu, that’s no reason to ban them.

It is good to see common sense prevailing over an overly dogmatic approach to non-discrimination rules. We trust UK authorities are taking note.