The Christian Institute

News Release

£200,000 legal fund to defend Christian groups from new ‘gay rights’ regulations

In light of tonight’s vote in the House of Lords to approve the controversial Sexual Orientation Regulations, The Christian Institute is making its Legal Defence Fund available to protect Christian groups and individuals whose religious liberty is threatened by hostile litigation under the regulations.

The Legal Defence Fund currently stands at over £200,000 and has been set up by The Christian Institute to protect the religious liberty of Christians. There has been a terrific response with over 2,000 Christians giving to the appeal. Last year it helped a Christian couple win an out-of-court settlement with Lancashire police after they were interrogated about their religious beliefs on homosexuality.

The Legal Defence Fund is also supporting a Judicial Review of the Northern Ireland version of these regulations. If the High Court rules that they unduly interfere with religious liberty then it could have an impact on the parallel regulations in Great Britain.

Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said tonight:

“I am saddened that these regulations have been passed without proper measures to protect religious liberty. You only have to look to the USA to see how laws like this can lead to religious bodies being hounded in the courts. I fear these laws will be used to deliberately target Christian charities which hold that homosexual practice is morally wrong. They may have to defend themselves in the courts. Our Legal Defence Fund will help to protect them.”

“Our Legal Defence Fund will cover other challenges to religious liberty. But given the regulations the biggest challenges are likely to involve conflicts between religious belief and gays rights.”

“The regulations create a very strong disincentive for Christian groups to get involved in social welfare projects in co-operation with the state. Such groups are being told to leave their Christian beliefs behind or be at risk from litigation. No wonder a recent BBC poll found that almost a quarter of Christians feel discriminated against in the community in which they live.”