The Scottish Justice Committee has proposed a new hate crime bill, which extends the current hate crime law covering race, to include other "protected characteristics" such as religion, sexual orientation, and transgender identity. Christian and secular groups have criticized the bill as too broad and subjective, potentially interfering with freedom of speech and worship.
Proposed Equality Bills 96 and 97 are ostensibly aimed at protecting an extensive group of people from discrimination and cover areas such as schools, public religious symbols, and services and employment. The Bills would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, religious belief, state of health, and other “protected characteristics.” However, many sectors of society, including educators, professionals, business owners, health workers, parents, faith-based groups, and believers are concerned about the laws' overreach.
Tens of thousands of French protestors took to the streets of Paris on October 6th to protest the draft bioethics law which passed the lower house of parliament on September 25th. The bill would, amongst other provisions, allow all women under 43 the right to "medically assisted procreation," including in-vitro fertilization (IVF), regardless of their relationship status, or sexual orientation. Currently, French law only allows access to IVF to heterosexual couples unable to have children through natural means, who are either married, or who have lived together for two years.
The Swiss Ständerat (Council of States) passed a law on November 28th adding discrimination based on sexual orientation to the existing criminal law prohibiting discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or religion. A broader version of the legislation, which included "gender identity" was passed by the Nationalrat (National Council) in October. Critics of the law noted that it could restrict freedom of expression and conscience, particularly for those who hold a traditional view of sexuality and marriage. Those who violate the law could face a prison sentence of up to three years.
A Catholic priest in Glasgow has been removed as a university chaplain after hosting a rosary of reparation for the city’s gay pride parade. The July 16 Rosary service was held in response to a gay pride event in the city on July 14. After complaints from LGBT groups, University principal Pamela Gillies announced that “Following due consultation, Father Mark Morris will not return to his chaplaincy role at the university in September,” the BBC reported.
Dr David Mackereth was deemed "unfit" to work as an assessor at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over his refusal to use transgender patient's preferred pronouns because of his view that gender is defined by biology and that God made humans male and female. The Equality Act identifies those undergo or who propose to undergo gender reassignment as part of a protected class. Failure to use preferred pronouns is interpreted as unlawful discrimination.
Poland's Supreme Court ruled against a printer who refused to create a roll-up banner for an LGBT business group because he did not want to "promote" the gay rights movement, citing his Catholic religious beliefs. The Court held that although there may be legally justifiable reasons to refuse services based on religious objections, in this case they did not apply. UPDATE: In June 2019, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the law the printer was convicted under was unconstitutional, because punishment for refusing to provide services on the grounds of beliefs interfered with the service providers’ rights to act according to their conscience.
The Canada Summer Jobs program funding application for 2018 requires that applicants sign a statement supporting, among other things, abortion and transgender rights in order to be eligible for funding. Hundreds of applicants, including Christian charities, pro-life groups, and churches have refused to sign the attestation because of the government's positions on moral issues.
The governing party announced the proposal on March 13, 2018, citing concerns about "systematic gender segregation and opinions that do not belong in Swedish schools." Although no examples of problems in Christian schools were cited, they would be included in the plan. Jewish schools would be exempted.
New government guidance by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) encourages schools to “ensure the visibility” of transgender perspectives in the classroom.
Justine Greening, who is also Education Secretary, said churches and other religious groups should “keep up” with public opinion on same-sex marriage.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has suggested that all Church of Sweden priests be compelled to perform gay marriages, or "do something else." Currently the Swedish church holds the position that “no priest should be obliged to officiate at the wedding of a same-sex couple.” Löfven said priests who are unable to bless gay marriage are in the wrong vocation and that the Social Democrats are working to ensure that priests "will consecrate everyone."
The political party "Ahora Getafe" has filed a motion for the Catholic Church and other religious entities to pay property taxes, despite its exemption. Due to the Concordat Agreements of the Spanish State with the Holy See in 1979, the Catholic Church was given a variety of privileges including not having to pay property taxes.
A parliamentary group in the Congress of Deputies presented a proposal calling for broadcasts of Mass on public television be prohibited, which they ask to be considered/debated by a commission that oversees RTVE, Spain’s public television station, and its affiliates.
An order of nuns was ordered to pay 25,000 Euros to a teacher for discontinuing her employment based on the incompatibility of her sexual orientation with the Catholic school’s ethos.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher warned that religious liberty is at stake in Australia's national elections because of the Green's proposed $32 million "Safe Schools" Program which would charge parents, schools, and churches with discrimination if they fail to conform.
Transgender politician, Martine Delaney, lodged an anti-discrimination complaint in September and on November 12, the commissioner announced it will begin investigation.
Pro-LGBT group Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) has launched a petition demanding that children as young as five learn about homosexual, bisexual and transgender issues, and this week it addressed the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee.
Reverend Barry Trayhorn, volunteering as a chaplain at a prison for sex offenders, recited verses from Corinthians which include homosexuality in a long list of sins, along with adultery, theft and drunkenness during a service.
A bakery in Northern Ireland was found guilty of "direct discrimination" after its Christian owner declined to provide a decorated cake with the words 'support gay marriage’. The owner said he could not fulfill the order because it conflicts with his Christian beliefs about marriage.