Rights against sexuality discrimination must be protected

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has called today for groups seeking to derail new measures to protect gay and lesbian people to be firmly opposed by all people of good will.

Andrew Copson, responsible for education and public affairs at the BHA, commenting on a demonstration to be held today by those opposing the new protections, dismissed arguments that special exemptions should be made for religious groups: ‘To declare a prohibition on discrimination but then to exempt some people from that prohibition on the grounds that they themselves find discrimination morally acceptable makes a mockery of the law. It would not be acceptable in the areas of race, disability, age or religion or belief, and is not acceptable here. Either we hold human rights to be universal or we do not.’

Noting the support expressed for anti-discrimination measures expressed by both the evangelical leader the Rev Malcolm Duncan yesterday and by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Christian think tank Ekklesiatoday, Mr Copson also commented, ‘Society at large, including both religious and non-religious people, increasingly recognises discrimination against people on account of their sexuality as deeply unethical. These last minute attempts by a few to prevent the conversion of this recognition into solid statutory protection must be firmly opposed.’

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For further comment or any enquiries email Andrew (Education and Public Affairs) or Hanne Stinson (Chief Executive) or telephone 020 7079 3584/3 or 07855 380633

The British Humanist Association is the largest organisation in the UK working for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular society.

The BHA’s work is firmly based in principles of human rights, equality and social cohesion, and the BHA’s executive director Hanne Stinson has been involved in the Equalities Review as a member of the reference group for that review and for the Discrimination Law Review.

You can read the BHA’s full original submission on the sexual orientation regulations here