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Equality North East

Equality bill: churches and campaigners demand clarity on religion's exemption

The government is facing allegations of duplicity over changes to the equality bill after a leaked document showed conflicting statements about the position of churches and other religious organisations.

Churches say the government has assured them the equality bill will preserve their "special status", which allows them to turn down candidates for jobs as ministers or priests if they are actively homosexual, transsexual or, in the Catholic church, if they are women.

Statements in parliament have also presented the government's position as preserving the existing law for religious organisations. "[The equality bill] will not change the existing legal position regarding churches and employment," the leader of the House of Lords, Lady Royall, told peers recently.

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January 25, 2010

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