Thinking Anglicans

equality bill – what are the changes?

As you can see from earlier articles here, there is a considerable fuss about certain clauses in the new Equality Bill. The main, but not the only fuss, relates to sexual orientation.

To understand this subject, you need to have the actual texts, not only of the proposed clauses, but also of the current legislation that they are intended to replace.

Current legislation:

Regulation 7 of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.

Amended version of Clause 19 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.

Proposed legislation:

Equality Bill, Schedule 9, Clause 2. On this copy I have underlined those parts of the new wording that are, in my opinion, significant.

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Fr MarkSimon SarmientoSimon Robert DawsonMerseymike Recent comment authors
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Merseymike
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Merseymike

Nothing controversial about that at all. Clearly religionists cannot expect carte blanche to avoid the law and exemptions were always meant only to cover the direct religious roles.

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

Looks from this as if a gay RE teacher could still be sacked from a church school, or am I mistaken?

Simon Robert Dawson
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Simon Robert Dawson

I was struck by this phrase
“the application is a proportionate means of avoiding conflict with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religion’s followers.”

So how is “a significant number” defined? For example – a significant number of Christians in the Church of England might think that gay bishops are wrong. Equally a significant number might think that it is not a problem.

If there is such disagreement within the church over these “strongly held religious convictions” how does the court make sense of that?

Simon

Simon Sarmiento
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Fr Mark Not merely an RE teacher, but any teacher. Though it depends on exactly what kind of church school is involved. School Standards and Framework Act 1998 Clause 60, para 5 applies to “voluntary aided” schools only. 60 Staff at foundation or voluntary school with religious character… (5) If the school is a voluntary aided school— (a) preference may be given, in connection with the appointment, remuneration or promotion of teachers at the school, to persons— (i) whose religious opinions are in accordance with the tenets of the religion or religious denomination specified in relation to the school under… Read more »

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

Thanks for the clarification, Simon.