But it doesn't stop our religion-soaked, PC-pressured authorities and other officialdom from coming down on the side of religious nutcases. They clearly want it both ways. Civil ceremonies are there to end the religious control of marriage, so what do they do? They reintroduce the idea of the religious control of marriage.
"Did Lillian Ladele, the devout Islington registrar whose refusal to conduct gay marriages has, astonishingly, been endorsed by an employment tribunal, ever wonder if she was in the right job?" asks the Observer (emphasis mine).
Guided by Christian beliefs so powerful they will not countenance, even outside the church, the union of two women or of two men, Ms Ladele must have had cause to wonder, throughout her career, about the fitness of all the other unchaste sinners over whose civil unions she has presided. Yet not until partnerships for gay people were added to the town hall's repertoire did she decide that these ceremonies were incompatible with holy writ.
The implications of this judgment, says the paper, could be serious and troubling if it is upheld on appeal.
Employees flourishing their religious convictions will be able to challenge almost any job description, whether these involve an aversion to pork, to certain clothes, to abortion pills, to gay people or to working on holy days.
If we're not careful we'll be heading for a theocracy by the back door, as religion has to be consulted before decisions are made in the secular world, affecting people of religion and no religion alike.