The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill proposes to make a number of changes to the Equality Act 2010. One of them is in paragraph 41 of Schedule 7 of the Bill (page 52 in the paper version). As the Explanatory Notes say:
Paragraph 41 amends Schedule 9 paragraph 2 (religious requirements relating to sex,
marriage etc, sexual orientation) so that, where employment is for the purposes of an
organised religion, an occupational requirement may allow a restriction that a person
should not be married to someone of the same sex. This means, for example, that a church may require that a priest not be married to a person of the same sex.
The change alters Schedule 9 paragraph 2 in the following manner (added words are in bold face):
Religious requirements relating to sex, marriage etc., sexual orientation
2(1) A person (A) does not contravene a provision mentioned in sub-paragraph (2) by applying in relation to employment a requirement to which sub-paragraph (4) applies if A shows that—
(a) the employment is for the purposes of an organised religion,
(b) the application of the requirement engages the compliance or non-conflict principle, and
(c) the person to whom A applies the requirement does not meet it (or A has reasonable grounds for not being satisfied that the person meets it).
(2) The provisions are—
(a) section 39(1)(a) or (c) or (2)(b) or (c);
(b) section 49(3)(a) or (c) or (6)(b) or (c);
(c) section 50(3)(a) or (c) or (6)(b) or (c);
(d) section 51(1).
(3) A person does not contravene section 53(1) or (2)(a) or (b) by applying in relation to a relevant qualification (within the meaning of that section) a requirement to which sub-paragraph (4) applies if the person shows that—
(a) the qualification is for the purposes of employment mentioned in sub-paragraph (1)(a), and
(b) the application of the requirement engages the compliance or non-conflict principle.
(4) This sub-paragraph applies to—
(a) a requirement to be of a particular sex;
(b) a requirement not to be a transsexual person;
(c) a requirement not to be married or a civil partner;
(ca) a requirement not to be married to a person of the same sex
(d) a requirement not to be married to, or the civil partner of, a person who has a living former spouse or civil partner;
(e) a requirement relating to circumstances in which a marriage or civil partnership came to an end;
(f) a requirement related to sexual orientation.
(5) The application of a requirement engages the compliance principle if the requirement is applied so as to comply with the doctrines of the religion.
(6) The application of a requirement engages the non-conflict principle if, because of the nature or context of the employment, the requirement is applied so as to avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religion’s followers.
(7) A reference to employment includes a reference to an appointment to a personal or public office.
(8) In the case of a requirement within sub-paragraph (4)(a), sub-paragraph (1) has effect as if in paragraph (c) the words from “(or” to the end were omitted.