Equality Bill Feared to Limit Freedom of Religion for Churches in Employment Issues

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: May 19, 2009

A new Equality Bill which would have forced Churches to employ practicing homosexuals or transsexuals as youth workers was amended and retained existing employment exceptions for the purposes of religion.

Under the current British law, religious groups can restrict posts to Christians whose private conduct is consistent with the Bible’s teaching on sexual ethics. A new Equality Bill however sought to specify that this protection applied only to posts that involve leading worship or explaining doctrine. The Bill’s explanatory notes sought to make it clear that this protection “would not apply to a requirement that a church youth worker or accountant be heterosexual”. According to the spokesman for the Church of England Churches would have been possibly forced to employ homosexuals in senior posts that involve representing the Church either locally or nationally. As he said, the Churches weren’t even warned that the proposed changes in the law may be introduced.

The Bill was amended by the House of Lords to retain existing employment exceptions for the purposes of religion. The Government accepted this amendment. For more information:http://www.catholic-ew.org.uk/Catholic-Church/Legislation-and-Public-Policy/equality_bill We thank the Christian Institute for this report. For more information please view: www.christian.org.uk/news/20090520/government-to-force-gay-youth-workers-on-church/