Discrimination in succession to the Crown must end

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has today restated its support for a Bill that seeks to end discrimination in succession to the Crown. BHA Vice President Dr Evan Harris MP is seeking to end centuries of ingrained anti-Catholic and sexist prejudice in the UK Constitution with his Private Member’s Bill: ‘Royal Marriages and Succession to the Crown (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill’.

Naomi Phillips, BHA Public Affairs Officer, said, ‘Successive Governments have introduced equality legislation to prevent discrimination against people on the basis of a number of characteristics, including gender, race and religion or belief. The inbuilt gender and religious discrimination at the heart of the British constitution is clearly antagonistic to these aims and should be reformed.’

Ms Phillips continued, ‘Fundamentally, it is our position that no church or other religious body should have any connection with our constitution, far less an officially established church which continues to have a unique legal status and so influence over our laws and public services. However, until such time as our vision for a secular state is realised, it is important to reform our constitution to end the inbuilt religious privilege and other discrimination.’

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For further comment or information, contact Naomi Phillips on 020 7079 3585.

The British Humanist Association represents and supports the non-religious. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.

In November 2007, the BHA published a work on secularism. Intended as an intervention in an increasingly topical but polarised debate, ‘The Case for Secularism: a neutral state in an open society’ argues for the secular approach in ways intended to appeal both to humanists and to religious believers and is edited by Professor Richard Norman, emeritus professor of moral philosophy at the University of Kent.

The Case for Secularism can be ordered from the BHA on our website or by telephone on 020 7079 3580 at a cost of £5 inc UK postage.