Thinking Anglicans

Equality Commission reveals its views on 4 cases at the European Court

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published Legal intervention on religion or belief rights: seeking your views.

Last month we announced that we had applied to intervene at the European Court of Human Rights and we have now been granted permission to do so.

We are considering using the four cases already before this Court as a platform to advise on and clarify the interpretation of human rights laws. We are seeking your views on our proposed submission on the human rights elements of the four cases claiming religious discrimination, and separately, whether the concept of reasonable accommodation has any useful practical application in cases concerning the manifestation of religion or belief…

And there is a 6 page consultation document (.doc)

The essence of their position is this:

We propose to intervene in:

• Eweida and Chaplin on the basis that the Courts may not have given sufficient weight to Article 9(2) of the Convention.

• Ladele and Mcfarlane on the basis that the domestic courts came to the correct conclusions.

And

We had suggested that our intervention might put forward the idea of extending the concept of reasonable accommodation beyond disability. However, we also know that this idea needs more careful consideration than the timetable for the European Court of Human Rights allows.

So they won’t now be doing that, but they are seeking views on the subject.

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John SandemanLaurence RobertsCraig NelsonGrumpy High Church WomanSimon Sarmiento Recent comment authors
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Mike Homfray
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Mike Homfray

So essentially, they are only making the case for being able to wear a cross or other religious symbol in the workplace which I think few would be very bothered about if overturned.

But despite all the hype there was no intent to seek a change in the outcome regarding the cases related to employment and the need to serve all users equally including LGB&T people

The words ‘storm in a teacup’ come to mind

Tom
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Tom

They have invited consultation. Does this mean that they will be inundated with responses from Anglican Mainstream and others which they can report as having received xk numbers of people who think the Ladele and McFarlane judgments were wrong? Do consultation exercises on the rights of minorities have any more moral standing than the US referendums on such propositions as Prop Eight? Is this trying to get a response from the court even if they have decided they are not officially going down that route?

Simon Sarmiento
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I do believe that what Tom says about conservative responses will happen.

The responses to the consultation will no doubt be reported in what is submitted to the court.

Tom
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Tom

Actually would such a consultation have any more validity than the phone-in votes taken on the latest “moral question of the day” as used in the Sunday Morning Live programme on BBC1? I hope the European judges are aware of all this.

Nat
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Nat

Am I the only one occasionally puzzled by such headlines as “EHRC reveals its views on 4 cases at the ECtHR”?

It is often expedient to abbreviate in the body of an article, on in a response, but having to do research to understand a headline tends to make me pass it by altogether, in search of the comprehensible…

Surely actually writing it all out once, at the head of an article, is not too great a time drain?

David Shepherd
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The EHRC has already publicly stated its position on where reasonable accommodation could be validly applied. The consultation is partly a PR exercise that also helps them to anticipate the contrary and supporting arguments that are likely to be raised. In particular, the National Secular Society may provide a more detailed explanation of its proposed legal submission to the ECHR.

The conservative responses in support of Ladele and McFarlane responses will simply allow them to refine their arguments, but I can’t see this altering the EHRC’s public stance on where it considers reasonable accommodation to be valid.

Simon Sarmiento
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Nat, I take your point. Though spelling out both of these names would make a very long title. I’ll try harder.

Grumpy High Church Woman
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Grumpy High Church Woman

One thing that has always puzzled me about the McFarlane case is whether he gave sex therapy counselling to unmarried heterosexual couples. It seems very likely that he did, given Britain’s demographics in that regard. So, given his approach to the Bible which he says underlies his objection, how could he treat unmarried heterosexual couples? Could this really be about homosexuality and not sexual morality per se? It does seem at best, how shall I put it, inconsistent.

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

I know I’ve said before (many times) but it’s worth stating again that the core principle in this is whether an employer can offer a type of service and require its employees (therefore) to deliver such a type of service. To undermine this introduces utter mayhem into employment law and turns employees into freelancers (at least in this regard). The employment relationship is a free one – if serving the general public and assisting your employer in delivering a fair and equal service for the general public (a concern for employers in private and public sectors alike) then one is… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

This new development being reported :

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/08/19/ehrc-confirms-backtrack-on-opt-outs-for-anti-gay-workers/

The commission really have made a dog’s breakfast of this and put lgbt folk through a lot of extra worry and stress, at a time when we are being attacked around the world; and facing social unrest,and an appalling right wing government at Westminster.

While in Scotland the Christian-led SNP seems very ambivalent about the existence of lgbt people.

John Sandeman
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John Sandeman

Here in Australia, an organisation has been given authorisation to provide housing to gay men only.
http://m.news.com.au/SA/pg/0/fi797783.htm
It seems to me to be fair enough, but the view by most poster here seems to be that to allow a group to limit their services to one group in society is somehow wrong.

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

John Sandeman if you will read the link you gave, you will see why it is necessary for gay people to seek a safe haven from the dominant culture which -as ever oppresses and abuses us.

The link you seek to make is surely mischeivous ?

My own experience over a life-time of seeking services, of all kinds, in the straight majority society, and culture, bears out the urgent need for such protections, from you (plural & polite).

John Sandeman
Guest
John Sandeman

The odd thing is, Laurence, that I did read the link I provided. In fact I thought about it for a couple of days before posting it. I am sure the Adelaide housing system will for gays will work well, and I happen to think it is a good idea.