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Harriet Harman's Equality Bill puts her on collision course with all major religions

The Christian campaigning charity CARE has issued a new report today to coincide with the Committee Stage in the Lords of Harriet Harman's Equality Bill. It concludes that urgent changes are needed to the Bill to prevent a serious clash with the Catholic Church and other religions over a number of issues.

CARE is concerned, amongst other things, that the Bill would:

  • Make it illegal for the Catholic Church to bar women from the priesthood and insist that priests are celibate; and
  • More generally, make it impossible for all religions and faith-based charities to insist that their senior staff live private lives in accordance with their religious beliefs.

The report highlights the fact that equality legislation backed by Harriet Harman in 2007 forced the closure of two Catholic adoption agencies - because they refused to comply with new laws requiring them to place children with gay couples.

It also raises concerns about inconsistencies in the Government’s approach, with, for example, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender charities being able to restrict their services on the basis of sexual orientation but not Christian projects.

Click here to download the full report, A little bit against discrimination?

Meanwhile, in a related story today, the Telegraph reports that faith schools are increasingly being robbed of the power to select children on religious grounds due to new guidelines that the Government introduced in 2007. Click here to read more.

Jonathan Isaby