The Equality Bill
The Equality Bill, which will extend both to England and Wales, and to Scotland, covers age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. It also requires public authorities to do more to tackle the effects of socio-economic disadvantage.
The Bill has received a hostile response among some religious groups, while the response of the large churches (including the Church of England) has been to welcome its principal aims while contesting aspects of its detail - particularly in terms of lobbying for opt-outs and provisions which would allow continued discrimination on grounds of sexuality and gender by faith bodies on grounds of 'upholding beliefs'.
Ekklesia has published a briefing on the Bill and is participating in the debates and amendment process around it through the Accord coalition, of which it is a founding member. We are opposing the 'opt-out' culture within section of the churches, and proposing that equality and fair treatment are core Christian concerns.
June 15, 2009