Amended again Monday afternoon
My report in last week’s Church Times on the December debate in the House of Lords, can be now be read at Religion is more than this, say peers.
The consideration of the Equality Bill will resume next week, when the House of Lords considers the bill in Committee. The following five dates have been allocated: Monday 11 Jan, Wednesday 13 Jan, Tuesday 19 Jan, Monday 25 Jan, Wednesday 27 January.
The Conservative party spokesperson, Baroness Varsi, together with Baroness O’Cathain, Lord Anderson of Swansea, and the Bishop of Winchester have put down an amendment to strike out the whole of the new definition of the purposes of organised religion. Amendment 100. The latter three have also put down an amendment to remove the word “proportionate” in paragraphs 5 and 6 of Schedule 9 clause 2. Amendments 98, 99
Baroness Varsi and Baroness Morris have also put down an amendment which would remove the word “philosophical” from the definition of “belief”. Amendment 20
The Bishop of Winchester had put down an amendment dealing with religious marriages and gender reassignment discrimination. This is not in the current list because it has been withdrawn for redrafting.I am told it will be resubmitted shortly.
The Bishop of Chester has put down an amendment to insert the words “under medical supervision” into the definition of gender reassignment. Amendment 10
Baroness Turner of Camden has put down amendments to ensure that the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 will have to be read in light of Schedule 9 (3). Amendments 124, 125 and 137
She has also put down amendments:
– to modify paragraph 8 so that it reads (addition in bold):
Employment is for the purposes of an organised religion only if the purpose of the employment wholly or mainly involves—
– to qualify Clause 3 of Schedule 9 (Other requirements relating to religion or belief) to add:
(d) A is not operating as a public authority, on behalf of a public authority or operating in relation to a contract with public authorities.”
Lord Alli has put down amendments:
– to allow civil partnerships to take place on religious premises Amendment 119A
– to delete the clause in Schedule 9 paragraph 2(4) which reads “(f) a requirement related to sexual orientation.” i.e. the transposition of the 2003 SO Regulations paragraph 7(3). Amendment 97E
Lord MacKay of Clashfern has put down this amendment:
Nothing in this Act shall have the effect of requiring a person (A) to provide a good or service to a person (B) when doing so has the effect of making A complicit with an action to which A has a genuine conscientious objection.”
Michael Foster MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Equalities has today announced that the Government will propose an amendment:
Contrary to some reports over the weekend, the Equality Bill will still allow churches to hire only male clergy and will let faith-based charities continue to recruit people of the same faith where this is a requirement of the job, such as care staff who may also be asked to pray with the people they look after. We have been absolutely clear on this throughout the Bill’s passage, but as there has been some misunderstanding around our intentions we will amend the Bill to make this clear beyond doubt.