Ireland: Government to ban religious schools from discriminating against gay teachers
The Irish government is seeking to close a loophole in equality law that permits religious employers to discriminate against gays.
An amendment, jointly submitted by Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, would repeal a portion of the Employment Equality Act.
Section 37 of the Employment Equaltiy Act currently exempts religious institutions from the law, allowing discrimination “where it is reasonable to do so in order to maintain the religious ethos of the institution”.
It specifically mentions church-run “educational and medical institutions” do not have to follow the law.
Teachers’ unions in the country have long campaigned for the change, arguing that the provision is effectively a license to discriminate against gay people for church groups.
According to the Irish Times, a proposal to repeal Section 37 will be taken to the Cabinet on Tuesday.
One the proposal gains cabinet approval, it will head to the country’s parliament in the Autumn.
Previous opposition bills on the issue have failed to gain traction previously, due to the strong opposition of religious groups.
Quinn’s proposals are largely modelled on one such bill, submitted by Labour Senator Ivana Bacik in the Senate last year.