By Hilary White
LONDON, March 20, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The highly controversial Sexual Orientation Regulations (SOR’s) have been ratified by a vote yesterday in Parliament. Despite criticism of the rushed process, the MP’s voted 310 votes to 100 to pass the regulations without amendment.
Both future contenders for the office of Prime Minister, Labour’s heir apparent Gordon Brown and Tory leader David Cameron voted for the ratification of the Regulations.
Tory MPs Ann Widdecombe, former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke and former leader Iain Duncan Smith voted against.
Ostensibly about opposing “discrimination” towards the differently sexually oriented in the provision of goods and services, the SOR’s have been decried by religious leaders and some MP’s as a means of imposing secularist homosexual ideology on believers and their institutions.
Though the vote was declared free for Tory MP’s, Ruth Kelly, the Catholic MP who was the object of weeks of attacks in the press for her efforts to have Catholic charities exempted, also voted in favour.
MPs were restricted to a total mere 90 minutes debate in a committee hearing last week and Commons rules barred MPs on March 19 from debating the regulation or trying to change the wording. The opposition accused the government of an “abuse of Parliamentary democracy”.
Cardinal Cormac O’Connor, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said, “It is, surely, an abuse of Parliamentary democracy that these regulations are being considered only through a hurriedly arranged and very brief meeting of 16 appointed MPs, and a short debate in the House of Lords.” The process appeared to imitate the same undemocratic procedures that have been repeatedly used to ram gay agenda measures through Canada’s various parliaments.
“Our society’s understanding of the pattern of family life and of the role of conscience and religious belief in public life remains a very important part of the political agenda” that needs to be heard,” the Cardinal said.
The law will be voted on in the House of Lords tomorrow and, if passed in the Upper House, will come into effect in the rest of Britain April 30th. Faith based groups will have 21 months to adjust their policies accordingly, although it is difficult to comprehend how they can do this without seriously violating their core moral principles.
The undemocratic process continues in the House of Lords. The peers will also not be allowed to debate the Regulations or have any opportunity to propose changes but may only vote for or against them.
An effort to stop the passage of the regulations in the House of Lords is considered a long shot. Baroness Detta O’Cathain has introduced a last-minute motion proposing that the “House, having regard to the widespread concerns that the draft regulations compromise religious liberty and will result in litigation over the content of classroom teaching, and having regard to the legality of the equivalent regulations for Northern Ireland, declines to approve the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007”.
Andrea Williams, spokeswoman for the Lawyer’s Christian Fellowship told the Telegraph, “The truth is these new laws will prevent Christians acting in accordance with their conscience, whether they are running an adoption agency or a business.”
“Vulnerable people will suffer. And, most worrying of all, Ministers have admitted that the laws will apply to the delivery of education in schools.”
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
UK: Religious Schools May Not Teach Christian Sexual Morals “As if They Were Objectively True”
British PM ~ No Religious Exemption to Law Forcing Provision of Goods and Services to Gays
British Tory Party Leadership Won By Traditional Family Champion David Cameron