By Hilary White
LONDON, May 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com ) – British churches will be forced to accept practicing homosexuals or “transsexuals” in positions as youth workers and similar roles, under upcoming equality legislation, the government has said. The Labour government’s Equality Bill will prohibit churches from refusing to hire active homosexuals even if their religion holds such behavior to be sinful, said deputy equalities minister Maria Eagle.
The legislation is due to come into force next year, and churches fear that it will force them to act against their religious convictions in a broad range of areas. Eagle indicated at a conference called “Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia, & Human Rights” in London, that the legislation “will cover almost all church employees.”
“The circumstances in which religious institutions can practice anything less than full equality are few and far between,” she told delegates. “While the state would not intervene in narrowly ritual or doctrinal matters within faith groups, these communities cannot claim that everything they run is outside the scope of anti-discrimination law.
“Members of faith groups have a role in making the argument in their own communities for greater LGBT acceptance, but in the meantime the state has a duty to protect people from unfair treatment.”
The bill allows a religious exemption for roles deemed to be “for the purposes of an organised religion” but restricts this definition to those who conduct liturgical celebrations or spend their time teaching doctrine.
The Daily Telegraph quoted Neil Addison, a Roman Catholic barrister and expert on religious discrimination law, who said that the bill will leave churches powerless to defend the fabric of their organization. “This is a threat to religious identity. What we are losing is the right for organizations to make free choices,” he said
Equality commissioners include the homosexual lobbyist, Ben Summerskill, the head of the leading British homosexualist activist group Stonewall. Summerskill has called for churches to be forced to employ homosexuals and for the police to stop Christians who were peacefully protesting against ‘gay rights’ laws outside Parliament.
Tony Grew, a homosexualist activist and the former editor of PinkNews.co.uk, wrote recently that the Equality Bill will “entrench gay rights in all aspects of public life.” Grew wrote on PinkNews that the bill will open unprecedented opportunities for homosexuals.
The bill, he said will cover central government departments, local authorities, education bodies, NHS bodies and the police service, plus a wide range of other public and private bodies, including churches and church-run institutions. It will impose the “Equality Duty” on all organizations providing public services, he said, such as residential care homes that “would have to consider the needs of same-sex couples.”
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