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Equality Bill passes through parliament

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Reader comments

  1. The ban on discrimination, victimisation and harassment does not apply in relation to broadcasting output

  2. BrazilBoysBlog 7 Apr 2010, 2:35pm

    …and all of it will depend on what the next government decides to keep, and what it decides to repeal anyway…

  3. Tim Hopkins 7 Apr 2010, 2:49pm

    In response to comment 2, the Tory spokesperson on the bill, Mark Harper, said in the Commons last night that there are three parts of the bill that the Tories will not bring into effect if they win the election (effectively scrapping those parts of the bill).

    They are:

    – the duty on certain public bodies to promote socio-economic equality

    – the rule that medium to large employers need to check their employees pay, to check whether they are discriminating between men and women in pay rates

    – the positive action measure mentioned in Pink News’ article

    By inference, presumably the Tories will bring all the rest of the bill into effect, if they win the election.

    Pink News have slightly misreported the main trans-related problem with the bill. The bill does change the definition of “gender reassignment”, so that trans people who propose to transition or who have transitioned gender are protected, even if they do not have any medical treatment. The people who are probably still not protected are transgender people who do not propose to transition gender.

  4. “But after the Pope publicly criticised the bill, equality minister Harriet Harman backed down.” – says it all really

  5. True Simonqq, she backed down yet she’s got the position of equality minister, another labourite who doesn’t see what equality should be and that the church will need to be fought if homophobia is to end

  6. “But after the Pope publicly criticised the bill, equality minister Harriet Harman backed down. She is thought to have made the climbdown to avoid a continuing dispute with church leaders”
    Since when did the former Hitler Youth member HERR Cardinal RATzinger aka the Pope decide British Law? (about 1530 sometime before the reformation I believe) And the Govt has always argued with Church leaders on matters of civil justice and morality otherwise we would still be burning witches and heretics in the town square! Ms Harman should not have allowed this to happen and the Govt itself should have stood up to the clergy!

  7. Can the editor please explain why there is no window to leave a comment on the South African lesbian who has been raped???????????????????????????????????????????????????????/

  8. Jessica Geen 7 Apr 2010, 5:07pm

    We don’t allow comments on stories about ongoing court cases. It could place us in contempt of court.


  9. That’s the silliest policy I’ve ever encountered. I wonder if this has anything to do with your outrageous libel laws?

    Regarding the article, I can only dream about the EP ramming such advanced legislation down our throats. Maybe one day…

  10. There were a couple of questions about the bed & breakfast issue in last night’s Commons debate on the Equality Bill.

  11. John(Derbyshire) 7 Apr 2010, 6:25pm

    Well make the most of this legislation folks-because it will be THE LAST pro gay legislation passed for a generation-nothing remotely favouring gay people will be passed into law as long as the tories are in power!

  12. To back down because of intervention by the Bishop of Rome (the ‘Pope’) is treason. It is part of English law that ‘The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England’ (39 Articles of Religion. which have the force of law), To allow him effectively to have that power is therefore not only illegal: it is a direct challenge to HM, who vowed at her Coronation to uphold the Protestant Religion (i.e. not a particular type of Christianity, but that no foreigner may have power in this country. Like to see that tested in the courts, especially as the death penalty, I think, still there for treason. Mmm

  13. Lucius it’s about giving people a fair trial not libel. So they aren’t tried by media in the way they are in the USA.

  14. Jean-Paul Bentham 7 Apr 2010, 9:46pm

    “But after the Pope publicly criticised the bill, equality minister Harriet Harman backed down. She is thought to have made the climbdown to avoid a continuing dispute with church leaders.”

    Say what?

  15. theotherone 7 Apr 2010, 9:54pm

    JP: Labour are trying to win the Religious vote therefore they’re back tracking on Queer Rights.

  16. @ GS:

    I was referring to the contempt thing. A fair trial is determined by the legal system in SA, not by my opinion on the matter, delivered on the other side of the world. How on earth can my view of someone’s guilt or innocence have any bearing on the ruling?!

    If PinkNews doesn’t have its server in SA, I really don’t see a problem. What are they going to do? Come knocking on their door, spears and all?

    Unless of course they have some funny law that gives them jurisdiction over every webpage in the world. Which wouldn’t surprise me. Not in the slightest.

  17. Well, I’ve just looked it up. I knew there was something queer about your notion of contempt – its an Anglo-Saxon version! Which to me is like being on another planet. :D

    But I still don’t understand the jurisdiction part.

  18. Tim’s right in his clarification of the trans issues in the Equality Bill; Lib Dem equality spokesperson Lynne Featherstone tabled an amendment to the Equality Bill to extend trans protection to all trans people regardless of surgical status or intention, but it was not taken up by Labour.

  19. Pumpkin Pie 8 Apr 2010, 6:33am

    Thanks for reminding me why I like the Lib Dems, Dave Page.

    Many people rightly see Cameron’s tax-cuts for married couples as a sinister way of rewarding people for conformity to state ideals. To me, depriving transsexuals (and other transgenders), who don’t adhere to the government’s extremely strict rules on how they should behave and transition, of basic human rights and dignity is ten times more sinister. And, worryingly, it seems that the majority of politicians don’t even understand, let alone care about, this issue.

    Pretty depressing, really.

  20. Tim Hopkins 8 Apr 2010, 9:05am

    The Govt may be right that the rules on employment by religious organisations would not have been changed, only clarified, by the material that they were forced to drop from the bill. Only time and court cases will tell though. The key grey area is in employment in jobs like youth workers. The Govt’s proposed clarification of the law would have made it clearer that churches could not refuse to hire a youth worker because of their sexual orientation – now the law remains unclear until there are more court cases.

    Incidentally, UK Governments, of whatever party, do not simply drop bits of legislation because the Pope says so. What happened in this case was that amendments were tabled in the Lords to remove the Govt’s clarification of the law. Labour and LibDem Lords voted against those amendments – Tories, Bishops and others voted for them, and won the vote.

    Usually, the Govt would seek to overturn such amendments when the bill goes back to the Commons, where they have a majority, but that requires days or weeks of “ping pong”, where the bill bounces between the Commons and Lords until the Lords back down. In this case, there was not time for that before the election. The ping pong phase of the bill started on Tuesday this week, and if the Commons / Lords disagreement had not been resolved by today, the whole bill would have fallen and we would have lost everything.

    I’m not saying the Govt did everything right on this bill – they let us down on the harassment provisions, and on the transgender provisions. But right at the end of a Parliament, where we are now, the main opposition party has more power to force amendments than at any other time.

  21. Cllr Stephen Ellis 8 Apr 2010, 12:24pm

    Harriet Harman bends over for the Pope … What a thought!

    We shouldn’t condone discrimination in any guise where it’s Bed & Breakfast or in churches.

    There’s still much work to do …

  22. “But after the Pope publicly criticised the bill, equality minister Harriet Harman backed down. She is thought to have made the climbdown to avoid a continuing dispute with church leaders.”

    That’s exactly why we get no civil marriage equality. Expect more backing down when Harman is replaced by a Tory. The policy will remain intact. Civil marriage of course has absolutely NOTHING to do with religion, so its a lame excuse by either party when they claim it can lead to a confrontation with cult leaders. Spain and Portugal’s governments stood up to them, ours don’t.

  23. “The people who are probably still not protected are transgender people who do not propose to transition gender.”

    I think, though, by way of compensation for this exclusion, the government has exempted us from taxation.

  24. Sorry: “has” in my previous post should read “should have”;)

  25. I know the equality act is not perfect, but i still think it is another step forward for equality. The issue for me is reflected in many of the replies and that is one of understanding and empathy.

    I work in the equalities area and i am constantly coming across homophobic ideas expressed openly. When challenged I am met with surprise and indignation. I have just read a converstaive part thread ( ) and the discussion is lettered with phrases such as abnormal and immoral etc. To me the issue is about educationg and as well as having the stick of the legislation to use.

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