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MP calls for new law to remove religious discrimination from public services

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  1. Robert, ex-pat Brit 16 Jul 2008, 9:09pm

    Ms. Ladele says..””I’m not homophobic. I’ve never had a problem with gay people or their lifestyle.”

    Why is it the heterosexuals always refer to our lives as “lifestyles”, as if it were a choice? When do we hear their lives described as such even if they’re not religious bigots? Ours are “LIVES”, not lifestyles. Religion is a lifestyle choice, one’s orientation isn’t. Kudos to Diane Abbott, nobody should be above the law on any grounds without exception. People with religious beliefs should keep them private and not bring them to the workplace where they clearly do not belong, ever.

  2. Duncan Sowry-House 16 Jul 2008, 10:40pm

    As far as I am concerned, as someone who had their CP on 21st December 2005, Ms. Ladele was employed by the State in a Public position to perform a Civil function. Not one of conscience, belief or faith. In any union made at a register office it is in fact a requirement that the union be wholly secular. How ironic then that the registrar be able to abstain on the basis of faith in the eyes of the tribunal. How long before Surgeons, Firemen, The Police and indeed ANY public service worker is allowed to withold services because of some spurious ‘faith’
    I find it incredible in this enlightened age and in respect of recent legislation that this ruling can in any way be considered legal. VERY worrying.

  3. All credit to Diane Abbott who deserves our support in this. I hope she gets a fair wind for her proposal, though the Christian Institute will only have itself to blame if she does because of its use of Ms Ladele to try to render civil partnerships unworkable in some areas if enough religious registrars pipe up. They may want to role out a carpet of no civil partnerships across the land but I believe they are deluded. On the face of it this is the only battle they have won in a long war of attrition, but it is a war they must not be allowed to win – so Diane – all power to your arm!

  4. Genesis 9:25-27 justified slavery of black by whites, not too long ago. I wonder what’s Ms. Ladele’s take on that part of the ‘good’ book, having African roots. So, if I were a devout christian, she should be ok with me having slaves. After all, the book says so.

  5. Abbott should not argue for a ban on discrimination on religious grounds for civil servants, but for strict equal treatment by civil servants to safeguard the neutrality and impartiality of the state. Let’s not make this a war on religion! In the Netherlands our Equality Commission has already adviced our government to issue a legal decret on this to make sure that every registrar in every muncipality is obliged to perform every marriage.

  6. Well done Diane! Actually, Christians should welcome her proposal, as it also protects them from discrimination from other religious groups.

  7. Tony Grew’s article said:

    “Her [Ladele’s] victory could set a precedent that will allow people with strong religious convictions to opt out of the provision of services to gays, lesbians and bisexuals”

    I would add that it could be extended to atheists, satanists or, ironically, mothers of illegitimate children. Logically, with this ruling, anyone with “strong” objections regardless of religion could be allowed to opt out otherwise it would be disrimination against the non-religious.

    Setting this precedent I can see employers having to organise their business around employee prejudices. I can imagine things like different checkout queues at the supermarkets: Non-alcohol queues to appease a Muslim cashier, non-meat queues to appease the vegetarian cashier, atheist queues to appease those who believe in gods and of course heterosexual queues, and I can imagine folk, consciously or unconsiously, scanning up and down the checkout counters mentally attaching labels to the different groups. It hardly enhances social cohesion.

  8. “Public servants should not be allowed to discriminate on the grounds of their beliefs, Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott said today.”
    Exactly. What’s special about religious beliefs as opposed to just beliefs? This is a slippery slope leading to people judging others as less worthy, less valid somehow. Why not include all beliefs? Let the racists, the sexists all have their right to discriminate, eh?
    No, of course not.
    M Hughes is right. It would lead to hatred and resentment. I don’t go around trying to interfere in Christians’ lives, so why do they feel this absolute compulsion to have a go at mine? Don’t they ever stop and think about what they’re doing? How much hatred they’re creating? I find it very depressing and often frightening.

  9. This might sound strange, but there is the possibility that we’ll be thankful (can’t think of a less favourable word) in a few weeks/months time that the Christian Institute and Ladele kicked off in the first place. Public reaction has for the most part being disgusted by the bigotry of the whole event. Also, the appeal at Islington could once and for all put religion back in its box and out of the public realm. Here’s hoping.

  10. Jan Baxter 20 Jul 2008, 6:30pm

    What this highlights for me is the inherent hierarchy that still persists in Diversity/Equality matters. Institutions (very much including the public sector) are able to avoid true equality by focusing on areas of statutory obligation e.g. race, disability, gender, age thereby confirming sexuality as the poor relation. Unless and until ALL areas are given equal emphasis the nonsense we’ve seen from this employment tribunal will continue.

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