However, what strikes me are the comments quoted of DUP councillor Gordon Lyons. He says:
"I do not want to live in a community where all have to conform to the same thoughts and ideals, but rather I want to live in one where there is space for difference."
You know reading that line in isolation it fits rather snuggly over the Liberal Democrat line in the pre-amble to our constitution where is says, "nobody shall be enslaved by conformity. Looks all nice and liberal.
However, here is the context in which it was said:
"Essentially this debate is about the kind of society we live in. Do we want to live in one in which people have to make a choice between continuing in their business or profession or following their conscience? That does not sound like a pluralist or liberal society.
"I do not want to live in a community where all have to conform to the same thoughts and ideals, but rather I want to live in one where there is space for difference. That is what this legislation is about."
Not quite so liberal and pluralist after all.
On the essentials he is right this debate is about the kind of society we live in.
But when it come to continuing your business, we have seen the recent case where a printing business has decided he will not print the civil partnership invites of a long standing customer in Drogheda because of his conscience. The customer is now upset that he wasn't told about this objection to his homosexuality earlier, no doubt because he would not have give four years of trade from his own business to the printers had he known.
Gay people don't all live in the big metropolises of our nation some of them live out in villages or small rural towns where there may only be one printer, one baker, one store, one restaurant etc within easy reach. There may be no choice for a gay business owner to shift their business if turned down or spurned because of their sexual orientation. There may be no space in such circumstances under a conscience clause for their difference. Indeed one couple in England face someone threatening to drive them out of their village for being gay.
You see the conscience clause instead of allow space for difference, allows some people to designate their space as only for homogeneous conformists to their own ideals and thoughts. That is not the sort of society I want to live in.