New ‘gay rights’ regulations put religious freedom in jeopardy
Reacting to news that the Government has published the Sexual Orientation Regulations, Colin Hart (Director of The Christian Institute) said today:
“Ministers have taken the view that ‘gay rights’ trumps religious liberty. The Government has not accepted the concerns of religious groups. We are going to see the sort of hostile litigation and false allegations against Christian charities which have been all too prevalent in the United States, Canada and Holland. The regulations are a charter for suing Christians.
“There are many areas in which conflict will not arise. A Christian bookshop will be happy to sell a Bible to anyone. No Christian soup kitchen is going to have a problem because they are willing to serve all-comers.
“But some gay rights supporters would rather see religious charities closed down than allow them to hold the belief that homosexual practice is wrong.
“The problems arise where you attempt to force acceptance of homosexual practice on Christian small businesses or Christian welfare projects. These concerns chiefly relate to the provision of accommodation in old people’s homes or guest houses, services for weddings, adoption, fertility treatments and printing/media services.
“We are also very concerned about the effect of the new regulations on schools. Whatever the Government says, we believe that the regulations will be used to promote homosexuality in schools. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights believes the regulations should be used to trigger litigation if any teacher says that homosexuality is morally wrong.
“Our legal action against the Northern Ireland version of these regulations will go ahead as planned in June. I very much hope the High Court rules that the parallel regulations in the Province unduly interfere with religious liberty contrary to the Human Rights Act. Such a judgment could well have implications for the rest of the UK.”