One we should have carried earlier – Sero Sed Serio
Towards the end of 2017, researchers at the Universities of York and Leeds published the results of their recent work in the snappily-titled report Religious marriage of same-sex couples: A report on places of worship in England and Wales registered for the solemnization of same-sex marriage. They found that same-sex couples who wish to marry by way of a religious ceremony in England and Wales are at a significant disadvantage compared with different-sex couples since they have little opportunity to marry in a place of worship or by way of a religious ceremony.
…and so, as the reality of the Article 50 of time confronts the fantasy of “excruciating detail”, we round off another year of L&RUK with a miscellany of recent news…
What the rule of law is really about
On 22 December, the First President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland, Professor Dr Małgorzata Gersdorf, published an open letter on the recent reforms of the judiciary. President Andrzej Duda has signed into law two bills reforming the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary: one allows politicians to choose members of the judiciary council, which appoints judges and the other, by lowering the retirement age for Supreme Court judges, would remove about 40 per cent of the current Court.
In a brief judgment in Close & Ors, Re Judicial Review NIQB 79, delivered in August, O’Hara J dismissed a challenge to Article 6 of the Marriage (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 by two same-sex couples who had entered into civil partnerships in 2005. The applicants contended that the effect of the Convention, as incorporated into the law of the United Kingdom by the Human Rights Act 1998, was that the continued denial of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was unlawful . Continue reading →
In a guest post, Dr Michael Arnheim, Barrister at Law and Sometime Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, offers another view of Lee v McArthur & Ors NICA 29 and the forthcoming appeal.
What is the point of yet another article on the “Gay Wedding Cake” saga? Just this, that, having lost in two courts already, the Christian bakery owners are about to receive a final knock-out blow in the UK Supreme Court – unless their lawyers take off their gloves and go for the jugular. Up to now, their lawyers have fought their corner in a quiet, gentlemanly way – on their adversaries’ terms. It is time to challenge the whole very shaky basis of the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland. Continue reading →
The usual mix of news that seemed to be important and stuff that simply caught our eye…
Future progress on Brexit
Possibly the most important news of the week – though it impacts on “religion” only tangentially (unless you’re the bishop of four dioceses that straddle the Irish border, in which case it impacts quite strongly) – was the statement on progress in the Brexit negotiations. In brief, the parties have agreed that there will be no hard border between the two parts of Ireland and that the existing rights of EU citizens living in the UK and of UK citizens living in the (rest of) the EU will be respected. Phew!
Readers will no doubt remember the outcome of Schalk and Kopf v Austria ECHR 1996, in which the ECtHR ruled that there was no right under the Convention for same-sex couples to marry. It held that, in the absence of same-sex marriage in Austria, the possibility of entering a registered partnership satisfied the requirements of Article 12 ECHR (right to marry and found a family).
The Constitutional Court of Austria [Verfassungsgerichtshof] has just taken precisely the opposite view. Continue reading →