BHA argues for fewer religious exemptions from European equality law

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has responded to a UK government consultation on the European Commission Proposal for an Equal Treatment Directive, which seeks to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation outside employment and vocational training.

Naomi Phillips, BHA Public Affairs Officer, said, ‘The BHA is committed to promoting equality and we broadly welcome this Directive. Much discrimination is a result of the manifestation of religious beliefs, such as those which are homophobic or opposed to people with other religious or non-religious beliefs. In our submission we make clear our opposition to any permissions in law that will allow religious organisations and groups to discriminate, except in very exceptional circumstances.’

Ms Phillips continued, ‘In our response to government, we also lend our support to protections against harassment on grounds of sexual orientation. We view sexual orientation as an attribute analogous to race in discrimination terms, and believe that individuals should be protected to the same extent. In particular, we argue that no exceptions from a prohibition on harassment for religious organisations should be allowed.’

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

Read the BHA’s response to the consultation on the EU Equal Treatment Directive.

The British Humanist Association (BHA) is the national charity representing and supporting the non-religious and campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief. It is the largest organisation in the UK working for a secular state.