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Government publish landmark intolerant legislation setting ground for clash of fundamental rights

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After spending 9 months drafting the proposed SEXUAL ORIENTATION REGULATIONS (SORs), the Government have today published the final version of the new law without making any significant concessions to protect the rights of Christians and others with deeply held religious beliefs.

The SORs can be found at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/draft/20075920.htm.

The Regulations, which make discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation unlawful in relation to the provision of goods, services, premises, education and public functions, are due to come into force on the 30th April 2007.

Under the Regulations it will be illegal for a Christian printer to refuse to print material promoting homosexual sex, it will be illegal for a Muslim website designer to refuse to build a website for homosexual dating, and it will be illegal for a Jewish conference centre to refuse to accept a booking from a Gay and Lesbian society who wish to hold a meeting promoting homosexual practices.

Thomas Cordrey, Barrister and Public Policy Analyst at the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, commented:

“This legislation is unprecedented in its complete intolerance of those who have religious beliefs. The Government did not put forward a single piece of evidence to justify the need for the Regulations, they have ignored 72% of the public1 who opposed their approach to this law, and they have ignored the majority of the 3000 responses to their consultation. Despite this weak basis to the law, the Government is prepared to take the landmark step of making it illegal for Christians to hold to the Bible’s clear teaching that God loves everyone and wants all people to know him, but also, that extra-marital sexual conduct (whether homosexual or heterosexual) is wrong.”

“To think that the Government would prefer to shut down the widespread and compassionate voluntary services provided by Christian adoption agencies, drug rehabilitation centres, homeless shelters and community centres, rather than accept that Christians should not be forced to promote homosexual practices, is astounding.”

Andrea Williams, Public Policy Officer at the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship commented:

“Whilst Christian groups have been clear from the outset that they would not in any way wish to deny the provision of basic goods and services to homosexuals, the Government have refused all calls that the Regulations should contain a simple clause that “no-one should be forced by this law to promote or actively condone any sexual practices which are contrary to their deeply held religious belief.”

“Rather than balancing rights the Government have chosen to draft these Regulations so that in almost every case the right to live a homosexual lifestyle trumps the right to live a religious lifestyle.”

“Every concern held by the Church of England and Catholic Church on the issue of gay adoption is magnified by the publication of these Regulations. The new morality being imposed by the Government on the British people has just taken a giant leap forward.”

Andrea Minichiello Williams, Public Policy Officer,

e-mail:
phone: 07712 591164

www.lawcf.org



1 See the independent Communicate Research Opinion Poll: http://www.lawcf.org/index.asp?page=SOR+Opinion+Poll+results



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