The UK Independence Party has said that it would protect the religious freedom of Christians in the workplace by extending the concept of “reasonable accommodation”.
UKIP joins the Democratic Unionist Party, the Christian Party and the Christian People’s Alliance in supporting a change in the law to protect freedom of conscience.
In October last year, Grassroots Conservatives wrote to the Prime Minister calling for conscience clauses to provide reasonable accommodation for teachers, registrars, churches and other faiths, which have concerns about same-sex marriage on religious or moral grounds.
Addressing the issue of same-sex marriage, UKIP’s policy announcement states: “We will also extend the legal concept of ‘reasonable accommodation’ to give protection in law to those expressing a religious conscience in the workplace on this issue.”
Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said: “We are pleased with this development, it’s very important that Christians should not be disciplined or sacked for their beliefs about marriage. We urge all political parties to adopt this approach.”
There have been numerous cases where Christians have suffered hostility for their beliefs on marriage.
In Northern Ireland, Ashers Baking Company has been taken to court by a taxpayer-funded equality quango after it declined to produce a pro-gay marriage campaign cake.
Marriage registrar Lillian Ladele was forced out of her job after Islington Borough Council refused to accommodate her religious objections to same-sex civil partnerships.
And last year, a grandfather who spent almost 20 years volunteering for the Red Cross was dropped by the organisation for opposing same-sex marriage.
Last week, Ed Miliband and David Cameron spoke out in support of religious freedom.
Mr Miliband said that legislation to protect Christians in the workplace is something “we should look at”.
He added: “We must do everything we can to make sure that religious freedom is protected and I am very clear about that.”
The Prime Minister said, “let us be proud that this is a Christian country, where we stand for the freedom to practise your faith, and where we stand up for Christians and all those who are persecuted anywhere in our world”.