Musings —04.10.2012 08:07 AM—
If it’s Wildrose’s “conscience,” get ready for social chaos:
Then there’s “conscience rights.” The Wildrose policy book says government should “implement legislation protecting the ‘conscience rights’ of health care professionals.” The policy doesn’t spell out what that means, but when party delegates voted for the policy they put it in the context of a health-care worker – who is against birth control – being allowed to refuse to fill a prescription for the morning-after pill.
And Smith, it seems, wants to take conscience rights one step further to include marriage commissioners.
In August, responding to a questionnaire from the Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association, she wrote “the Wildrose will ensure conscience rights for marriage commissioners and health professionals. This would ensure the protection of personal expression for individuals, while also ensuring that personal beliefs are respected for all Albertans.”
Again, Smith was vague, not specifying what conscience rights would mean for marriage commissioners, but when used in the past the term has referred to allowing marriage commissioners to refuse to perform civil ceremonies for same-sex couples. It smacks of state-sanctioned discrimination and a Saskatchewan court has deemed the idea unconstitutional.