UKIP wants to create ‘conscience’ law for Christians who oppose gay equality
UKIP has pledged to create a ‘conscience clause’ that would give Christians exemptions from anti-discrimination laws.
Though the provision was omitted from the UK Independence Party’s main manifesto, it has emerged today in their ‘manifesto for Christians’ – in which Nigel Farage pledges to create protections for people who oppose same-sex marriage.
The document was released via churches and anti-gay group Christian Concern – and not circulated via the official UKIP website or to the press.
It says of same-sex marriage: “UKIP opposed same-sex marriage legislation because it impinged upon the beliefs of millions of people of faith. Rushed through Parliament without proper public debate, the legislation is significantly flawed.
“It should have been subject to a review of the state’s role in marriage.
“We will not repeal the legislation, as it would be grossly unfair and unethical to ‘un-marry’ loving couples or restrict further marriages, but we will not require churches to marry same-sex couples.
“We will also extend the legal concept of ‘reasonable accommodation’ to give protection in law to those expressing a religious conscience in the workplace on this issue.”
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Nigel Farage claims in the manifesto: “Sadly, I think UKIP is the only major political party left in Britain that still cherishes our Judaeo-Christian heritage. I believe other parties
have deliberately marginalised our nation’s faith, whereas we take Christian values and traditions into consideration when making policy.
“Take the family, for instance. Traditional Christian views of marriage and family life have come under attack of late, whereas we have no problem in supporting and even promoting conventional marriage as a firm foundation for a secure and happy family.”
Rights groups have reacted negatively to the plans – which UKIP has not promoted or advertised other than to Christian groups.
It mirrors legislation proposed by the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, who are planning to table a bill that would exempt religious people from equality laws.
Christian Concern – which the document was released through – actively works to oppose gay rights, and leader Andrea Williams last week attended a ‘gay cure’ conference.
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