A leading gay rights group has expressed concern at the tactics being used by Christian groups opposing the introduction of new rules to protect LGBT people from discrimination.
The Sexual Orientation Regulations, which outlaw discrmination in the provision of goods and services on the grounds of sexuality, are due to be implemented across England and Wales in April. Their introduction was controversially delayed by Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly.
Today the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) said it fears that a misinformation campaign by evangelical Christians is underway, with the aim of getting the new protections for gay and lesbian people abolished altogether.
“These evangelical groups are becoming hysterical and desperate as they pile on the pressure to destroy the new Sexual Orientation Regulations,” said George Broadhead, secretary of the GALHA.
Last month an advert in The Times, paid for by an evangelical group called Coherent and Cohesive Voice, stated that under the new rules a BB owner would be “forced” to give a room to a transvestite, schools would be forced to promote civil partnerships, and a string of other specious claims.
After a campaign led by PinkNews.co.uk, the Advertising Standards Authority are investigating the advert.
Leading humanist peer Lord Lester has asked a series of parliamentary questions of ministers, refuting the assertions made in the advert point by point.
Now a group of evangelical Christian lawyers are petitioning the Queen to intervene with Tony Blair and persuade the government to drop the regulations.
Although it is almost certain that Her Majesty would not get involved with the issue, GAHLA have expressed concern that the government will not stand firm in the face of protests.
“These regulations have already been seriously compromised by the granting of extensive religious exemptions,” said Mr Broadhead.
“The religious groups will not be satisfied until they have destroyed them altogether. The gay community really must get its act together or these important new measures will be steamrollered by religious bigotry.”