Tom Brodbeck covers the story of "Kevin Kisilowsky, a 36-year-old Stonewall (Manitoba) man who had his marriage commissioner licence pulled by the province last year because he refused to perform gay marriage ceremonies".
Mr. Kisilowsky feels that his religious rights have been violated and is taking legal action. Therefore, this ambiguity about commissioners vs. clergy could come to a head as soon as next year.
Arthur Weinreb, in his editorial Dora Meets the Met (Canada Free Press) makes some excellent points for forcing marriage commissioners to perform gay marriages:
"...a civil servant may hold a genuine belief that mixed marriages are wrong. If those who perform civil ceremonies are allowed to opt out of performing same sex marriages then they should equally be allowed to not have to officiate at a heterosexual marriage ceremony between one of their co-religionists and a member of a different religion. The principle is the same..."
O.K. I can buy that. Now, this is where things get interesting. Brodbeck states:
Marriage commissioners are not civil servants. In fact, anybody over the age of 18 can get a marriage commissioner licence, even a temporary one for the weekend.
The licence simply allows the person to solemnize a marriage.
They're not forced to do any marriages -- except same-sex ones, according to the province.
So to sum up, marriage commissioners are not civil servants, and they are allowed to perform marriages only when they wish to do so - except for same-sex marriages.
Now please explain to me how religious rights are not being trumped here?