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The right to discriminate

Sandberg, Russell ORCID: 2011. The right to discriminate. Ecclesiastical Law Journal 13 (2) , pp. 157-181. 10.1017/S0956618X11000044

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The first decade of the 21st century has witnessed a number of controversies surrounding the interaction between law and religion in the United Kingdom. In particular, tensions have emerged between laws protecting religious freedom and those which prohibit discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. In particular, Parliament has repeatedly examined the scope and ambit of exceptions afforded to religious groups which allow them to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation when specific conditions are met. And these exceptions have reportedly led to tensions within both the Blair and Brown cabinets and rebukes from the Vatican and the European Commission, criticising the exceptions for being too narrow and too broad respectively. The exceptions have also been challenged by way of judicial review, have been applied or commented upon in a number of high-profile cases and have attracted comment in the print and broadcast media. A number of employees have brought claims asserting that new legal requirements promoting equality on grounds of sexual orientation are incompatible with their religious beliefs. This article seeks to explore the legal changes that have occurred in the first decade of the 21st century affecting religion and sexual orientation with particular reference to how courts and tribunals have dealt with clashes between the two. It discusses the extent to which English law allows religious groups and individuals to follow their own beliefs regarding human sexuality.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Additional Information: This article is based upon the text of a public lecture delivered on 3 June 2009 as part of the Ecclesiastical Law Society's London Lecture Series and papers delivered at a workshop on ‘Religion, Discrimination and Accommodation’ funded by the AHRC / ESRC Religion & Society Programme in Newcastle on 5 June 2008, a seminar on ‘Role of Religion and Belief in a “Secular” Society’ organised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Lancaster on 28 April 2009 and a meeting of the Interfaith Legal Advisers Network convened by Cardiff University's Centre for Law and Religion at Lambeth Palace, London on 1 March 2010. I am grateful to the organisers and attendees of these events whose comments have undoubtedly improved the quality of the article. The feedback of my colleagues at the Centre for Law and Religion and students on the LLM in Canon Law at Cardiff has also been invaluable.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0956-618X
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 22:51

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