Equality Act 2010 Causes Closure of Christian Businesses

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: May 21, 2013

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination on several grounds, including sexual orientation, in the area of the provision of goods and services. While there is a vital exemption to the general prohibition against discrimination for religious organisations when providing goods or services, this can only be relied upon in limited circumstances and is not wide enough to cover many situations.

Where the exemption does not apply, religious freedom has been severely restricted. The religious exemption, for example, does not apply “where the sole or main purpose of the organisation is commercial” and an organisation cannot lawfully discriminate on the grounds of “sexual orientation” in the provision of services, where the services are provided on behalf of a public authority. As a result of the law, Christian guesthouse owners have been successfully sued and faith-based adoption agencies have had funding removed and have been forced to close down or remove their religious ethos. Source and further information: The Observatory's Report 2012 on Legal Restrictions Effecting Christians in Europe