Government nominates former Stonewall chair to head equality commission
The government has selected the former Chair of Stonewall to head the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, made the nomination this week for the independent statutory body – responsible for enforcing equality and non-discrimination laws in England, Scotland and Wales.
She nominated David Isaac, who chaired Stonewall from 2003 until 2012.
In letters to Harriet Harman of the Joint Committee on Human Rights and Maria Miller of the Women and Equalities Committee, Mrs Morgan praised Mr Isaac’s record on LGBT rights
Mrs Morgan noted: “Under his chairmanship, the charity successfully lobbied to secure major legislative change, including the abolition of Section 28, the introduction of civil partnerships and gay marriage.
“He was personally involved in the development of Stonewall’s strategy, lobbying parliamentarians and other opinion formers, applying for the lobby group’s charitable status and leading the organisation through a period of major change.”
Mrs Morgan also cited his work as a Trustee of the Human Dignity Trust, which works to challenge anti-LGBT laws around the world.
A statement confirms: “The Secretary of State has selected David Isaac for appointment as the next Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
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“She has put his name forward for consideration at a combined hearing of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and the Women and Equalities Select Committee.”
However, the news has not gone down well with Christian Concern – evangelical opponents of anti-discrimination laws – who expressed (as the name suggests) concern about the choice.
In a letter to the Secretary of State, the group’s head Andrea Williams fumed: “Your proposed appointment is an absurdity and we ask you to reconsider your choice of candidate”.
She claimed that Mr Isaac would be unable to fulfil the need to “promote equality of opportunity across nine grounds, including religion and belief”, because he has an “agenda” on gay rights.
Ms Williams continued: “The Equality Act 2010 outlines the rights of protected groups but does not address the question of how competing interests are to be ‘balanced’ when conflicts arise. In this way, it has created a hierarchy of rights.
“Poor drafting has resulted in the rights of those who identify as homosexual being consistently privileged over the rights of Christians, particularly with regards to historic views on marriage, family and sexual ethics.
“The Commission has failed to protect adequately the freedoms of Christians – and others who hold similar views – to express in the public square such historic and until very recently considered mainstream views.
“Indeed, the Commission increasingly encouraging the privatisation of the Christian faith and Judeo-Christian values and opinions more generally.”