Christian News from Scotland

News stories from Scotland and beyond

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Police accused of religious discrimination

A Roman Catholic couple have accused Strathclyde Police of discriminating against them on religious grounds.

The claim comes after the UK's second largest police force chose to lump married couples in the same group as civil partners in the bureaucracy's electronic personnel records.

Lucille and Frank McQuade from Motherwell complained after their status as civilian employees of the police force was changed from married to married/civil partnership.

The couple, who have been married for 26 years, told a Glasgow employment tribunal that they had deeply held religious beliefs as Christians as to the sanctity of marriage and found their description as married/civil partners offensive causing injury to their feelings as married persons.

Mr McQuade argued that Strathclyde Police has deliberately omitted to consider the genuine religious sensitivities of employees with the same religious beliefs as themselves and added that the police could have implemented a system to accommodate the legal requirements to recognise the legal status of civil partnership without encroaching on the rights of married persons for whom marriage has a deep religious significance.

He argued marriage and civil partnerships were separate and distinct from each other and referred to a Stonewall Parliamentary Briefing which stated "Civil partnership is a separate legal structure, designed for same sex couples. There was no overlap in any way with heterosexual marriage: the two are mutually exclusive."

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