A victory in Europe against those who hide behind religion to justify discrimination:europeanCourtHuman 2255324b 300x187 European Court: Religious Beliefs Do Not Justify Discrimination

Today the European Court of Human Rights ruled that religious beliefs may not justify opposing the rights of same-sex couples. British laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation were upheld.

Commenting this landmark ruling, Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament’s LGBT Intergroup, said: “With this ruling, the court has established that freedom of religion is an individual right. It is emphatically not a collective right to discriminate against LGBT people, women, or people of another faith or life stance.”

“Religious freedom is no ground for exemption from the law. The court showed conclusively that the principle of equality and equal treatment cannot be circumvented with a simple reference to religion.”

Religious fundamentalists are not entitled to create a bubble where they only get to deal with whom they choose in the public square. When they open the doors of their businesses to the general public — it means everyone. In the real world, we have to associate with people whom we vehemently disagree as part of the unwritten social contract and societal cohesion. The fact that a fundie has to deal with a gay person does not violate their religious freedoms, any more than an atheist or mainstream Christan dealing with a fundie violates their conscience.

It is time religious extremists to stop whining and pretending to be victims — and start playing nicely with others. They don’t have the special right to deal only with their own kind and discriminate against entire groups in a diverse world.