In what is sure to become the newest talking point for the American right, churches in the UK are being told that under the new Equality Bill, they cannot refuse to hire homosexual employees.
Church leaders had hoped to be able to push for exemptions from the new laws but deputy equalities minister Maria Eagle has said the laws will cover almost all church employees. Previously, any roles necessary “for the purposes of an organised religion” are exempt for gay protection laws. But the Equality Bill will define this as applying only to those who lead the liturgy or spend the majority of the time teaching doctrine, such as ministers, bishops and their equivalents.
Speaking at the Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia, & Human Rights conference in London, Eagle said: “The circumstances in which religious institutions can practice anything less than full equality are few and far between.”