Orville Nichols, 71, was fined by a human rights tribunal for refusing to "marry" two men based on his Christian religious beliefs.
Nichols, who served as a marriage commissioner from 1983 was approached by the complainant, only identified as M.J., in April 2005 to conduct the ceremony. Nichols informed M.J. that he was available, but when he realized that M.J.'s partner, B.R., was a man, he told them that he could not "marry" them based on his religious beliefs.
Nichols was fined $2,500 by the tribunal in June 2008, which decided that as an official of the government, Nichols was not entitled to have his religious beliefs accommodated.
According to the judge, Nichols' religious views are not relevant in how he conducts his job. "In that capacity [as marriage commissioner], his personal religious beliefs do not matter," she wrote.
As a public official, she said, Nichols is obliged to perform civil marriages according to the statutes in the Marriage Act, which allows same-sex "marriages." "I am sympathetic to the argument that a public official acting as government is at the same time an individual whose religious views demand respect," she wrote. "However, a public official has a far greater duty to ensure that s/he respects the law and the rule of law. A marriage commissioner is, to the public, a representative of the state. She or he is expected by the public to enforce, observe and honour the laws binding his or her actions. If a marriage commissioner cannot do that, she or he cannot hold that position."Read more at LifeSiteNews