Thinking Anglicans

Equality Bill and the CofE

Today’s Church Times carries a report, written by me, about the CofE and the Equality Bill.

See Committee rejects C of E proposal on Equality Bill.

THE parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) disagreed strongly with the Archbishops’ Council over a proposal to modify the Equality Bill, it emerged this week. The Bill awaits the Report stage before its Third Reading in the House of Commons…

Links to the various documents mentioned can all be found at this earlier TA article JCHR report on Equality Bill.

Those coming late to the Equality Bill can catch up by reading the House of Commons Library Research Paper, Equality Bill Committee Stage Report, just published, and available here as a PDF file. This summarises all the activity of recent months, and explains what amendments have, and have not, been made to the bill as originally published.


  • karen macqueen+ says:

    It is clearly time for liberal and democratic governments to begin to phase out the practice of giving public funds to religious organizations (Churches, Mosques, Temples, etc. and those organizations sponsored by them that have a “religious ethos”). These organizations intend to continue to discriminate against LGBT persons due to the biological differences between them and the dominant majority.

    Imagine discriminating against transexuals in employment on a “religious” basis! The Churches and the Mosques want the legal “right” to refuse to hire someone in a same sex civil partnership because the love and commitment of these persons to each other presents an image to the world that is contrary to the “religious ethos” of these organizations.

    We have seen in the United States where this unholy alliance between government funding of religious organizations leads, in particular in the case of the Catholic Church, and their threats to shut down homeless shelters, adoption agencies, and feeding programs for the hungry unless they are permitted by law to discriminate against LGBT persons.

    While members of these religious organizations may wish to continue to fund this organized hatred based on ignorance of science and just plain mean spiritedness, there is no justification for the state to continue to fund these religious organizations.

    In England, of course, this presents a problem for the establishment of the CofE. And so it is fitting that the government refuses to allow the CofE to discriminate in this manner, while reluctantly maintaining the allowance for discrimination in the hiring of religious ministers.

    But, it is simply shameful for the CofE and the Arhbishop’s Council to argue for a more extensive “right” to engage in discrimination.

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    Thank you, Simon, for this article, which clarifies the J.C.H.R.’s rejection of ‘special’ rights to discriminate against LGBT persons’ ability to be employed by their respective faith communities. What a victory this is for those of who believe that the Church of England should not be trying to enforce legislation against LGBT people being accepted as employable and welcomed as part of the work-force of the Church.

    Sadly, those who have opposed the acceptance of gays in the Church tend also to be those who are afraid of the influence of women in the Church. This discriminatory outlook needs to be given the same treatment that is demanded of all (including the Church and Governments of Uganda & Nigeria) who deny the human rights of anyone – not just the LBGT community and women who are already a part of the Body of Christ within the Church.

  • anthony says:

    I don’t understand why everyone thinks its cool to have an exemption for ministers. Especially in an established church.

    But I wish people wouldn’t keep pouring scorn and contempt on the RCC in DC because they made some stupid political moves akin to the moves typically made by labor unions. The RCC is in thick with the unions, so maybe they had the same bad advisors. Anyway the RCC should never have bid to provide the social services for DC. How could they not see what was coming at them? They set themselves up for a fall. He who pays the piper calls the tune. But with luck they can get free now and let someone else pick it up. Maybe the LDS or Assemblies ;=). You can bet it won’t be the Episcopalians. Or the Anglicans either. Both of which have very good advisors.

    Also, Dr. MacQueen, I am one hundred percent in agreement about stopping government subsidies to churches of any kind in the USA. It is a malignant practice. I include tax exemptions as something that should be discontinued, as I hope but do not trust you do too. because it violates the establishment clause IMO.

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