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Equality North East

Equality body urged not to backtrack on 'blatant discrimination'

Lesbian and Gay Christians have questioned the Equality and Human Rights Commission on changing its approach to equalities and belief.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has recently announced a significant shift in its attitude towards equality cases involving religion - which critics fear may allow personal beliefs to be used to justify blatant discrimination in the provision of public goods and services.

The equality body has in the past been criticised by some conservative Christians for being too harsh in its response to religiously motivated convictions where these clash with the requirements of a job, for example in providing services to LGBT people such as civil partnership registration and relationship counselling.

Now the Commission has stated that judges may have interpreted equality law "too harshly" against Christians in some instances. As a result, EHRC is now intervening in four cases before the European Court of Human Rights where Christian workers have been disciplined or lost their jobs due to clashes between their religious convictions and the requirements of their job or workplace. Lawyers representing the Commission have called for more "compromise" and "accommodation" in such cases.

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July 20, 2011

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