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

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

Posted by Mike Homfray at Monday, 15 August 2011 at 3:38pm BST

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?

Posted by Tom at Tuesday, 16 August 2011 at 9:45am BST

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.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 16 August 2011 at 10:34am BST

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.

Posted by Tom at Tuesday, 16 August 2011 at 12:45pm BST

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?

Posted by Nat at Tuesday, 16 August 2011 at 3:21pm BST

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.

Posted by David Shepherd at Wednesday, 17 August 2011 at 12:21am BST

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

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Wednesday, 17 August 2011 at 8:23am BST

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.

Posted by Grumpy High Church Woman at Wednesday, 17 August 2011 at 9:59am BST

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 not obliged to persist in such employment.

To put it another way, when I deliver a service, as I do on behalf of an employer who are in many respects answerable for the service I deliver on their behalf. My employer both wants to comply with the law and be an exemplar of good practice in serving the public over and above legal requirements. To prevent it doing that (via its employees) would be egregious.

Equally an equal opportunities employer being obliged by law to accomodate bigots to undermine its employment and service delivery standards is intolerable to developping cohesive working in teams that deliver services according to a given ethos.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Thursday, 18 August 2011 at 9:01pm BST

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.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 19 August 2011 at 2:02pm BST

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.

Posted by John Sandeman at Saturday, 20 August 2011 at 1:37am BST

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).

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Sunday, 21 August 2011 at 1:06pm BST

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.

Posted by John Sandeman at Wednesday, 24 August 2011 at 1:07pm BST
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