Conscience clause could be used as a licence to discriminate against others
A conscience clause sounds so virtuous. So ethical. So upright. In fact, a group of people whose religious convictions have led them to lobby for wriggle-out rights to recognising same-sex marriage is asking for a narrow-minded clause. A prejudice clause. A bigotry clause.
Such a caveat undermines the principle of going to the people. Let the one-citizen, one-vote rule decide whether or not same-sex marriage should be legalised in Ireland - but give no special interest group a State-backed right to ignore the will of the majority.
Everyone's vote in the marriage equality referendum must carry equal weight, and we must all respect the result whether or not we happen to agree with the decision. Otherwise, democracy is compromised.