Bit of stuff going around the blogosphere about the Registrar who is asking to be excused conducting Civil Partnerships on grounds that it's against her religion.
Some argue that it isn't against her religion - she's wrong. Others (the anti-religionists) saying 'why should appeals to religious conviction be granted special favours'. Both of these are red herrings, really.
Quakers appeals against conscripted military service were accepted because to be a Quaker is to be a pacifist - but most national religious organisations don't require the signing of a pacifist pledge. The issue is not whether same-sex partnerships are acceptable to Christianity as a religion, but whether opposition to same-sex partnerships is a fundamental aspect of her particular church. Actually, I think that would be hard to prove.
There are presumably many atheists who cannot accept same-sex partnerships, but are there any national secular membership organisations that require members to sign their opposition to them? The question of 'special favours for religion' can only be demonstrated here if there are such organisations, and their members are overruled.
On the conscription issue, the membership of the Quakers was relevant not (I think) because it's a religious society, but because long-term membership of the Quakers was acceptable as evidence that the person claiming exemption wasn't just looking for an excuse to evade their responsibility but was appealing genuinely to conscience. It's the question of evidence that is crucial.
The United Reformed Church enshrines rights of conscience in its constitution. It put that into practice when, in 1981, it merged with the Churches of Christ who had never accepted the practice of baptising infants. Former Churches of Christ ministers were not obliged (after the merger) to baptise infants if it was against their conscience. But if they personally couldn't, they did have to arrange for another minister to do it.
Therefore, provided a court can be convinced that the lady's objection is a genuine conscience issue for her (and actually that might be quite difficult to prove) she should be similiarly granted exemption from her responsibility.