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Labour MP: Compromises for anti-gay staff are ‘outrageous’

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  1. Is it a coincidence that the Coalition changed the make up of the EHRC to include more zealous christian voices? Perhaps not.

    1. Who did they include?

      1. de Villiers 23 Jul 2011, 7:42am

        Who are they?

    2. Katie Murphy 28 Jul 2011, 7:10am

      The next battle will be over crap like this. In NY a couple of xtian clerks refused to sign the paperwork re marriage. One quit,, I dont know the other result.

      I reminds me of how catholic people refused to sell birth control to customers in a pharmacy.

      these people need to be told to go to work for a church. As for our commercial / retail enterprises, no more back of the bus, whites only, Jews and colored need not apply, and other xtian / cath bulldroppings.

      Do the job or out the door. and whn your fired, generally you dont get unemployemnt insurance payments.

      1. “to avoid having to deal with gay people.to avoid having to deal with gay people.to avoid having to deal with gay people.to avoid having to deal with gay people.to avoid having to deal with gay people.to avoid having to deal with gay people.to avoid having to deal with gay people.to avoid having to deal with gay people.”

  2. Still no comment from Angela Mason?

    Interesting.

    If the EHRC does not reverse it’s appalling decision then clearly they have no regard for LGBT people, and should be condemned and protested.

    I think Trevor Phillips is showing that he should be sacked immediately.

    1. I believe it was predicted that the EHRC would be going down this road when Trevor Phillips was first appointed to the position. He has a long history of homophobia behind him yet we were “assured” that he would not promote a religious or an anti-gay agenda. Surprise, surprise, surprise, he’s done BOTH just as expected.

  3. “EHRC legal director John Wadham said compromises and accommodations could be found for religious people in the same way that disabled people are accommodated at work.”

    Finally, acknowledging that religion is a disability.

    1. Ben Foster 23 Jul 2011, 6:27am

      yes, i thought that was funny, too. “II can’t do that job, I’m a Christian’!!! Lovely.

      But can’t ANYONE see the problem? What if the issue was ‘I won’t serve them, they’re muslim!’ That isn’t acceptable. Why should they get away with discrimination against gays?

  4. Jock S. Trap 22 Jul 2011, 4:06pm

    Let’s hope sense prevails and religious greed and discrimination fails.

  5. Does anyone know how many fundamentalist christians are on EHRC commission.

  6. I will support this “religious exemption” if it applies to ALL religions and applies to ALL issues, not just gay partnerships.

    When Orthodox Jews can refuse to grant food service licenses to establishments that serve pork and shrimp…

    When Muslims are allowed to refuse to grant licenses to pubs to serve alcohol…

    When Mormons are allowed to refuse to do health and safety inspections for establishments that serves coffee, tea and other caffeinated products…

    When Catholics are allowed to refuse to give marriage licenses to divorcees, non-virgins and non-Catholics…

    And when atheists are allowed to deny service to the whole lot of fairy tale worshippers…

    THEN, and ONLY then, will I support this very narrow, very targeted and very intentionally homophobic “exception” to the law.

    I’m surprised that none of the so-called “journalists” out there are doing their jobs and calling some of these people out on their GLARING hypocrisies. They serve other “sinners”, just not the gays.

    1. Nicely put.

  7. Gavin Renwick 22 Jul 2011, 4:12pm

    The amount of opposition to the ECHR’s move is really quite encouraging. I always assumed everyone would stick their heads in the sand.

  8. Finally! I was seriously beginning to worry. Surely this is doomed to failure before the ECHR anyway? You simply cannot permit a religious doctor to waste time running around trying to swap shifts with someone else in order to avoid treating a gay person. What kind of madness is this that would allow something like that?!

  9. The problem is not all religious people. The problem is a handful of very vocal, very conservative religious people pushing their agenda. I am a Christian and a gay man I am appalled at the behaviour of some of my co-religionists, behaviour which calls me to question my faith. I think it’s important not to tar all religious people with the same brush, otherwise you’re no different from the queer-bashing haters of Christian Voice.

    1. Clive, there is absolutely no comparison…none at all…

      1. Of course there is – if you characterise and denigrate a whole group of people based on one shared characteristic (being gay, being Christian, being black etc) it’s all the same – bigotry. Not all Christians are conservative, not all gay men are promiscuous, not all black people are crack addicts etc etc etc

        1. Dr Robin Guthrie 22 Jul 2011, 6:16pm

          Being Christian is a choice.

          Being Black or Gay isn’t

          1. Supporting ManU is a choice but I don’t expect people to say that all ManU supporters are hooligans!

    2. Dr Robin Guthrie 22 Jul 2011, 5:01pm

      Since when did gay people attempt to create laws, preventing
      Christians from getting married.

      Since when did gay people attempt to change laws to allow themselves to discriminate against Christians in the provision of Goods and Services.

      I would take a long hard look at this “cult” you belong to and do not dare to equate gay people defending themselves from constant religious bigotry with the poison that emanates from Christian Voice.

      How dare you.

      1. Robin, being a Christian does not automatically make you a member of a cult.

        These people who claim to be Christians, yet are wanting to deny equal rights to other people, are not acting in a Christian way at all. They can disagree with what we believe all they want, tell us we’re wrong, but that’s only their opinion.

        To be a Christian is to be Christ-like, which means not judging others for how they live their lives, no matter whether you agree with them or not. It means being there to help people when they need help, it means making the effort to be a better person, whether you succeed or fail.

        Don’t let an ignorant proportion of religious people distort your view of all religious people, as we’re not all like that.

        1. Dr Robin Guthrie 22 Jul 2011, 6:18pm

          Well I’ve not seen much denouncing of all this hatred coming from your ranks.

          1. There are a few but it would be nice if the Unitarians, Quakers etc denounced it and wrote to the EHRC as well (perhpas they have?) – after all they’re being stopped from doing “gay” marriages, even though it’s their religious belief that gays should be able to marry, instead they are being fobbed off with “religious” CPs which isn’t what they really wan to do…

            http://www.lgcm.org.uk/2011/07/lgcm-urges-the-equality-and-human-rights-commission-to-think-carefully-about-changes-in-its-approach-to-the-protection-of-religious-belief/

            http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/15119

        2. Sarah, by definition Christianity is a cult. Do you even know what “cult” means or do you have the mistaken belief that it only applies to groups like Charles Manson and other modern crazy religious groups.

          cult
             [kuhlt] Show IPA
          –noun
          1.
          a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
          2.
          an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
          3.
          the object of such devotion.

          What part of that ISN’T applicable to Christianity?

          1. Ian Townson 23 Jul 2011, 11:35am

            This definition could just as easily be applied to politics as religion. Remember the cult of personality worship re: Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao Zedong. You could also include worship of the Kennedys as a political dynasty, Charles Manson, Mahatma Gandhi and so on.

    3. Clive they are not conservative Christians they are extremist in their views..

  10. Interesting development though…it appears that the EHRC deliberately mislead ‘The House’ (Parliament) regarding the actual purpose of the early amendment bill. The MP’s thought they were proposing to protect individuals wearing religious symbols.

    I suspect that this was a deliberate tactic to cloak the bill and to get it passed allowing the EHRC and the dodgey christian institute to interpret the bill to suit their own agenda.

    1. Rashid Karapiet 26 Jul 2011, 9:19am

      Precisely the point I made in an earlier posting on this subject. Was it a deliberate tactic to conflate the refusal of service cases with the religious symbols cases in order to mislead Parliament. It’s the kind of deviousness we’ve come to expect from these pernicious purvveyors of hatred. In any case I hope Parliament will now do the right thing and accept John Macdonnell’s amendment. (I may have the name wrong – apologies!)

    2. Rashid Karapiet 26 Jul 2011, 2:56pm

      Preccisely the point I made a while agao when I asked if conflating the refusal of service cases with the religious symbols cases was a deliberate tactic by these pernicious purveyors of hatred. I hope Parliament will now see the manoeuvre for what it is and accept John McDonnell’s amendment.

      1. Rashid Karapiet 26 Jul 2011, 3:00pm

        Sorry about the doubling of my comments…Don’t know how this happened.

  11. Ooer missus 22 Jul 2011, 4:43pm

    Can we get a comment from ILGA Europe, and other NGOs who intervened on behalf of the gay couple in the Austria gay marriage case, as to whether they will be intervening in the 2 anti gay cases here too? Maybe even the TUC could intervene as well.

    1. ILGA seem to be pretty invisible nowadays on these issues

  12. Ooer missus 22 Jul 2011, 4:50pm

    On the religious symbols thing, whatever the merits, there is no comparison between the requirement of a Seikh to wear a turban, and the choice of someone to wear a cross on top of their uniform which is not a requirement of their religion. Will soldiers and policemen then have have a right to wear crosses or other religiuos regalia on top of their uniform?

    1. It’s not a requirement of Muslims to wear the hijab either, but some of them CHOOSE to do so, and are allowed to by BA – clearly unfair and discriminatory therefore not to allow a Christian to wear HER religious symbol.

      1. whether you must wear hijab or not depends on the interpretation of islamic texts, wearing a cross is a personal choice not a requirement

        1. I wear a cross, it’s a little one I got for my confirmation when I was 13. I don’t shove it in people’s faces saying “ooh look at this”, but I’m not going to hide it either.

          We have pride to show the bigots that we’re not ashamed of who we are, in fact we’re bloody proud. Sikh’s wearing turbans, Christians wearing crosses, and other religious items that you wear are simply the same. By denying people the choice to proudly display their religious beliefs, what does that say about you?

          1. its not about religious accessories on a display, its about bigotry associated with religion

          2. Dr Robin Guthrie 22 Jul 2011, 6:21pm

            By all means have your religion, just stop trying to bring it into the secular arena.

            Keep it in your hearts and churches where it belongs.

            Have you ever considered that some of us just do not want to hear your “good news” and have no interest whatsoever.

          3. Sarah, here is what JESUS had to say about your public displays of your faith and your need to be “proud” about your faith in public.

            Matthew 6:5-6

            5“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

            You are probably more familiar with what directly follows. It’s called the “Lord’s Prayer”.

          4. Jane Clare Pawling 26 Jul 2011, 5:51am

            If your religion is enhanced by your wearing a trinket, you are skating on thin ice.

      2. Clive, the cases about crosses are nothing to do with being allowed to wear a cross and everything to do with the defendants wish to have a court case and attendant publicity.

        These are manufactured cases.

        If you want more info on the actual issues and judgements then have a look here

        http://www.secularism.org.uk/trevor-phillips-makes-another-bi.html

    2. Ben Foster 23 Jul 2011, 6:39am

      Hang on, a kirpan isn’t a turban. It’s a ceremonial knife. The issue is that carrying a kirpan is ‘carrying a lethal weapon’ in public, and obviously that worries people in a society where we want to eliminate knives and knife crime from the streets.

      Not suggesting that Sikhs commit knife crime of course. But knives generally are not welcome on British streets.

  13. if ehrc gets its way, trevor philips will be able to change his shifts, so in that way he wont have to work with gay angela manson, mind you angela might be happy with that outcome too, it might the reason why she became deaf

    1. Dr Robin Guthrie 22 Jul 2011, 9:18pm

      Here Here…..

      A rapturous applause by the ignorant confronts her apathy on this.

      1. who is she errrr

    2. Angela Mason seems to agree with Trevor Phillips!

  14. MP’s did not understand what they were voting for, do they not read!

    1. Dr Robin Guthrie 22 Jul 2011, 9:30pm

      There politicians.

      Take it as a matter of course that they are stupid, either willfully or just are.

      To be a politician in 2011 you have to be wealthy, generally not earned by hard work over years.

      Aloof to others suffering as it doesn’t affect them.

      And generally just concerned with their own income.

      It’s quite sickening reading about MP X, intervening in 1 or 2 cases for his constituents and the papers
      fawning over it as if they were some Jesus figure when said MP covers 100’s of Thousands in there
      constituency, then going on to flog off their jobs abroad as they got a bung
      from some billionaire and then signing Early Day Motions like this one without even reading it.

      It surprises me not.

      Read the Hansard web site. If you want to despair at the lack of Democracy in this country.

      That’s where you will find the proof.

    2. The EDM mentions 4 cases and the EHRC’s decision so it’s a bit surprising that he signed it without finding out first what he was signing up to. He mentions other MPs that did the same thing as him but as far as I am aware there are only 2 others who signed this EDM who want to withdraw their sig, 1 lib dem and the other one an alliance person (who has now had her name removed from the online list). Who are the others and why are there 2 other lib dems still on that list and a whole load of labour mps and why aren’t they signing EDM 2109 and why isn’t Clegg and Milliand writing to the EHRC as well. As for the tories then there are only 3 who have signed, they’ve really surprised me..

    3. Knowing the christian right; I suspect that they worded the EMB ambiguously enough to mislead the politicians, whilst allowing them to interpret it to serve their malicious agenda.

      Parliament should now be in uproar at the EHRC for deliberately attempting to mislead them.

      1. It’s not very ambiguous…I think LGBTory. Delga and LGBTlabour etc should be in uproar with their MPs for signing it in the first place, not signing EDM2109 and not getting their MPs and leaders to ask the govt to defend our rights and ask for a retraction/further explanation from the EHCR…

        “That this House welcomes the decision of the Equality and Human Rights Commission to intervene in supportof four cases involving discrimination against Christians that are presently with the European Court of Human Rights; notes that this is a long overdue recognition of the need to defend religious liberty and marks an important development in relation to a better understanding of the role of faith in public life; and further welcomes the Commission’s advocacy for reasonable accommodation in the workplace as an acknowledgement of the place of conscientious objection for those with religious belief”

  15. Angela Mason is a councillor at Camden Council. I would expect her to respond to the concerns of people in Camden. Angela’s email is_

    angela.mason@camden.gov.uk

  16. Is he and all the other pro gay and pro equality labour MPs going to sign EDM 2109 then????

    “That this House welcomes legislation on equality and non-discrimination as vital for the protection of people of all faiths and none; notes that the Supreme Court has not found any evidence of discrimination against Christians by the operation of equality laws in the workplace; recognises the importance of the Ladele judgment in setting a precedent in support of protecting gay and lesbian people from discrimination by religious public service workers; and calls on the Government to base any proposed changes to legislation on equality and non-discrimination on evidence rather than the opinions of a vocal minority” – 4 sigs only!!!

    Talk is cheap, sign this EDM and get all the others who mistakenly signed the other to remove their sigs from the other EDM and put it against this one and raise some questions to the government on whether they are going to defend our equalities law.

  17. So sorry people, we are supposedly not allowed to discriminate against race , sex, religion,or orientation in this country, and that includes using one’s religious beliefs in the performance of a job. I am a nurse ,and I don’t have the privelige of refusing service because I don’t like how someone lives their life or what they believe in. Religion has nothing to do with doing your job in a civil office, and you should not to be allowed to hide behind it.

  18. Peter Tatchell 22 Jul 2011, 7:42pm

    To be fair, perhaps Angela Mason is being gagged by her bosses at the EHRC. I can’t imagine her agreeing to an anti-gay policy.
    For my take on the EHRC’s proposed compromises, see here: http://www.petertatchell.net/religion/equality-body-supports-compromises-on-equality-laws.htm

    1. But somehow her infleunce in the EHRC isn’t very evident as well….with all this fuss then I would have thought that someone in the EHRC would have given us some better re-assurance and it doesn’t come across to me that she has much influence at all otherwise we would have had that by now?

      1. Dr Robin Guthrie 22 Jul 2011, 9:36pm

        If this woman is prepared to take her salary from UK tax payers including god forbid us “gay people” as does this vile expensive quango that employs her, then if she has at least 1 iota of integrity she should open her gob and say something or resign.

        Otherwise what is the point of her employment other than supporting her self.

        1. She or somone in the EHRC could at least split the 4 cases up and tell us why exactly the EHRC thinks the British courts were not correct in their judgement on the gay related cases. If they were correct then I don’t see why they need to comment on them at all in Europe……Do we really have to wait until the case gets to Europe before we hear an explanation from them, that’s just not fair on anyone…

    2. Dr Robin Guthrie 22 Jul 2011, 9:47pm

      Seen your take on it Peter.

      Sorry.

      We are still waiting for some response. Any response.

      Her being gagged by her bosses is no excuse.

      The EHCR should NOT be compromising my rights to exist and not be told I’m sinful. Preached at whilst going about my daily business.

      I have been through enough batterings and humiliation in my time for these people to make that mindset reasonable and justifiable yet again.

      I am a Doctor and an atheist. Do I have the right to deny treatment to people of religion as my belief is that they are all insane.

      Should I by law, refer them off to psychiatric treatment.

      No. And quite right to.

      They are entitled to their beliefs, flights of fancy, whatever, however the second they dare to secularise their gibberish
      I will give as good as I get.

    3. To be fair, in government as a very senior civil servant Angela Mason did resist various moves for gay equality as “too much too soon”

    4. You may be right Peter. However, it concerns me that a member of an organisation whose sole purpose is to defend and ensure the Human Rights of the citizens of the UK and Europe can be gagged by the very same organisation. Angela needs to get her voice heard – at the very least it will demonstrate to parliament and the public that not all within the quango are in agreement with the proposed ‘conscience clause’.

      Is there not a way that we (the people she represents) can force her to make a statement? Could a committee of concerned MP’s not summons her to clarify her position?

    5. It would interesting to know how transparent the EHRC’s meeting with the christian institute was. I wonder whether Angela was even invited to attend the meeting? Could they have deliberately excluded her from it?

  19. It will be interesting to see how the EHRC will react once the marriage equality debate begins. I dare say, this same argument will be raised again regarding “christian” beliefs.

  20. de Villiers 23 Jul 2011, 7:53am

    This decision concerns me and, appears to be, to based upon bad reasoning.
    .
    On re-reading the Equality Act and the Disability Discrimination Act, the right of people with a disability was for their employer to make reasonable adjustments to mitigate the disparate impact of their disability. It recognised that a person’s disability was a sadly negative and unavoidable state over which they had no control and which put them at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to those who had no disability.
    .
    Religion does not at all reflect this. There is no physical or psychiatric state which puts religious persons at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to those who are irreligious. Those who are religious consider their religion to be a benefit. That means that rather than acting as a law stopping unchosen disadvantage, the law would instead protect individual benefits and advantages – the opposite of what a discrimination law should achieve.

  21. de Villiers 23 Jul 2011, 7:53am

    This decision causes me concern and, appears to be based upon bad reasoning.
    .
    On re-reading the Equality Act and the Disability Discrimination Act, the right of people with a disability was for their employer to make reasonable adjustments to mitigate the disparate impact of their disability. It recognised that a person’s disability was a sadly negative and unavoidable state over which they had no control and which put them at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to those who had no disability.
    .
    Religion does not at all reflect this. There is no physical or psychiatric state which puts religious persons at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to those who are irreligious. Those who are religious consider their religion to be a benefit. That means that rather than acting as a law stopping unchosen disadvantage, the law would instead protect individual benefits and advantages – the opposite of what a discrimination law should achieve.

    1. An employer taking on a disabled person knows what to expect. According to their EHRC’s decision where compromises will need to be found (and they’ve not really expanded on how that will apply to all employers and employees) for Christians , it’s not that easy for the employer to work out what are core Christian beliefs and what proof that the person isn’t just being homophobic or plain lazy……Performing CPs isn’t a core Christian belief for instance. A jew working with Pork might be a core Jewish belief. Without being able to ask whether a person is able to do the task at an interview and then finding later on that he/she has an objection to it isn’t very workable for an employer. Their thinking can only apply to a large company with flexible staff and that makes small companies at a real big disadvantage. Most companies I suspect already compromise where they can, this compromise advice should be advice only and not a legal requirement.

  22. Absolutely right de Villiers.

    Here’s an excellent article that gets to the heart of this matter.
    “Equality body urged not to backtrack on “blatant discrimination”
    http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/15117

  23. Ian Townson 23 Jul 2011, 11:43am

    Religious beliefs should never be allowed to trump our civil, political or equal rights. If we allow that to happen then we end up with a secular system that is being gradually eroded in favour of subjective factors of hurt feelings instead of objective ones of social justice. Hence chaos, disorder and injustice will ensue.

    1. “N.Y. clerks who won’t perform gay marriages are right to quit
      Government workers must sign marriage licenses for all kinds of people who would never be eligible for a religious wedding.

      Imagine a city clerk refusing to sign a license because a couple belonged to different religions or had children out of wedlock. Or a clerk who refuses due to some deeply held personal opposition to mixed-race couples. We’d never stand for it.

      The job of a municipal clerk is to follow our laws, and personal and religious beliefs should have no bearing on that duty. According to New York law, same-sex couples will be entitled to equal treatment starting tomorrow. If you can’t follow that law, it’s time for a career change.”

      Full article here:
      http://blog.nj.com/njv_editorial_page/2011/07/ny_clerks_who_wont_perform_gay.html

  24. A group that has had crusades, inquisitions, been involved in slavery, protecting paedophiles, gay genocide etc etc wants to be able to refuse to serve OTHERS on the grounds of conscience.
    If every there was a group that could be refused service on the grounds of conscience it is Christians. Is this going to work both ways.

    1. The equality legislation we have presently has been working well, the problem is that some unreasonable and extremist Christians don’t like losinbg their undeserved privileges and want to retain the right to discrimninate against gays freely.

      So as you say Phil we could insist that if there are to be compromises over conscience then everyone must be allowed conscience opt outs from the law.

      I’d rather see the existing legislation retained and continued to be employed and enforced intelligently in our courts when challenged as it has in fact been recently.

      Christians are not being persecuted nor discriminated against in this country by being treated equally and by by simply being asked to treat other citizens in a civil fashion and to abide by the law like everyone else when providing goods and services to the public.

  25. They don’t like us. What’s the point in forcing them to work with us when there’s plenty that will.

    1. marjangles 24 Jul 2011, 3:20pm

      Because they should do the jobs that they are paid for. And because if religious people are allowed this opt out, what comes next? BNP members saying that their ideology means they should be allowed not to serve black people? Muslims refusing Christians?

      Their wages are paid in part by the taxes of gay people, if our money is good enough then so are we. They have a job to do and they should do it.

      And you know what, they should be professional. I have clients in my job that I cannot stand. But it doesn’t mean that I do less than my best for them. I don’t turn them away because I find them obnoxious.

      1. de Villiers 24 Jul 2011, 9:10pm

        I agree and would go further that there should be no discrimination regardless of the fact that we pay our taxes. Anti-discrimination should apply regardless of whether the groups being protected have economic power.

  26. Religious belief is a choice. Being gay is not. Therefore, ANY exemptions from the law for ‘believers’ is just plain silly and asking for trouble. If people can legally discriminate on the grounds of religious belief, can not I, as a Jedii Knight refuse to serve anyone wearing a crucifix as they would obviously not follow my belief? The can-of-worms this could open-up would serve only to make the legal profession wealthier. I say to the EHRC, “NO-ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW, WHATEVER THEIR ‘BELIEF”. Stop pandering to these people. If they have to abide by the law of the land like the rest of us, they’ll soon get used to it, ‘believe’ me. If their current job requires them to perform duties to which they have a ‘religious’ objection, they should get another job.

  27. Would it be acceptable for a minister to refuse to counsel someone because they were black? I think not. So why should they be allowed to do so because of someone’s sexuality?

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