Thursday, 14 January 2010

Equality Bill - Lords revision day 2

The House of Lords continued its examination of the Equality Bill yesterday. Amendments discussed covered clauses 10 to 29. Here is the news page with links.

The Hansard record can be found starting here, or the PDF file is over here.

Two of the amendments I had previously listed as interesting were debated.

Amendment 20 (Baroness Varsi and Baroness Morris) which would remove the word “philosophical” from the definition of “belief”, was debated, follow that from here.

At the end of the evening, Lord MacKay of Clashfern proposed Amendment 57A:

“Conscientious objection
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.”

Read the debate on that from here.

Also, yesterday there was a change in the list of peers sponsoring the amendment to delete Sch 9 Clause 2 Para 8. Baroness Varsi’s name was removed, and was replaced by Baroness Butler-Sloss. Lady Butler-Sloss also added her name to those sponsoring the amendment to delete the word “proportionate” in in paragraphs 5 and 6 of Schedule 9 clause 2.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 9:28am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: equality legislation

From the debate, The Bishop of Chichester picks up on Lord Mackay's point...

"...I am grateful that he is pressing the point about the distinction between orientation and practice. It seems to be fundamental. We will not agree about that, but it is one of the underlying questions that has bedevilled this discussion. There is another that the noble Baroness highlighted a moment ago, which we need to take note of before we finish. She repeated several times an expression about the need to respect people's private beliefs. One reason why I opposed the amendment trying to get rid of "philosophical" this afternoon alongside "religious" was precisely because our beliefs, whether religious or philosophical, inform our public attitudes and behaviour as citizens. The attempt to privatise belief, whether philosophical or religious, is a profoundly dangerous tendency and one that we need to address as we consider not only this but later amendments."

Does the Bishop not realise his double standards.

He considers it "profoundly dangerous" for people to ask him to "privatise" those religious beliefs that inform his "attitudes and behaviour"; yet at the same time he appears to want the right to discriminate against those who do not "privatise" their sexual orientation, those who allow their orientation to inform their attitudes and behaviour.

Posted by: James A on Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 12:15pm GMT

I must say, it is rather good not to be living in the jurisdiction of the English Church - under the Bishops of the Church of England. Overseas Provinces have the distinct benefit of not having to be subject to an 'Upper House' which has the power to over-rule any legislation which appears in the Parliament of the People. Deo Gratias!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 6:16pm GMT

"Baroness Butler-Sloss"

There'll always be an England. ;-)

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 15 January 2010 at 2:54am GMT

I hope the conscientous objection amendment gets shot down, killed, voted against. It makes a mockery of the rest of the bill. All someone has to say is that their religion, their ethics, their conscience doesn't permit them to hire GLBT folks.
If the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the USA had such an amendment, businesses would still be saying "Blacks need not apply" or "No women wanted in here". If you open your business to the public, you are open to all the public. If you desire not to serve all of the public, find yourself other employment or source of income.
I suppose you could always be employed by ACNA.

Posted by: peterpi on Friday, 15 January 2010 at 7:21am GMT

"I suppose you could always be employed by ACNA."
- peterpi, on Friday -

I'm not so sure that one would not be jumping out of the frying pan into th fire by suggesting that.
I'm sure ACNA is going to have its own ongoing problems about who is, and who is not worthy of being called into the ministry of its multifarious traditions. The only thing that unites them is their homophobia. They are very much divided on the issue of women clergy. One only has to look at their web-sites to see just how divided they are on issues like liturgy - from High Church Anglicanism to North-end protestant; from Charismatic to Marian Devotions; just to mention a few sticking points.

Putative Archbishop Robbie and his new Dean of the faux Province of 'ACNA' have much to sort out before they can be recognised as a Province of the 'Orthodox Global South Communion'.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 15 January 2010 at 11:24pm GMT
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