The Christian Institute

News Release

Article 13 ‘lucky for some’

The Christian Institute today spoke out against Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty, the new Clause intended to combat discrimination on a number of grounds including sexual orientation and religion.

Speaking today, Colin Hart, Director, said

“The new Government have dropped Britain’s opposition to a wide ranging anti-discrimination Clause in the European Treaty.

The fatal flaw of the new Clause is that in practice European Judges – not Parliament – will be able to rule on highly sensitive questions such as whether the UK has a blasphemy law, or whether Church schools should be forced to employ an atheist as head teacher.

Almost certainly there will be attempts to use the new Clause to establish gay marriage rights. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has recently given a ‘gay rights’ interpretation of sex discrimination legislation.

We are not reassured by the Government saying that legislation under the Clause requires unanimity of member states. This is to miss the point of how the ECJ can act unilaterally without legislation. On several occasions the Court has already given legal effect to general principles within a Treaty. It has done this through ‘an onus of interpretation’ or even through ‘direct effect’.

The ECJ is a Court with real teeth. Article 13 gives the ECJ a major new human rights remit. Its inclusion in the Amsterdam Treaty is at least as significant as the incorporation of the European Convention of Human Rights. “