The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has warned that, should same-sex marriage be introduced in the UK, churches will have to marry homosexual couples regardless of any statutory protections for conscience.
The Government is intent on introducing same-sex marriage by 2015. Its proposals will not initially allow such ceremonies to take place in churches.
However, this promise appears to be completely worthless, as the ECHR has suggested that, if introduced, churches will be forced to provide marriages to same-sex couples under anti-discrimination law.
The Judges also stated that same-sex marriage is not a human right, undermining the claim by Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone that it is a ‘rights’ issue.
The ECHR rules on disputes arising from the European Convention on Human Rights which was incorporated into UK law in the Human Rights Act 1998. It is unlawful for any public body to act in a way which is incompatible with the ECHR.