“Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs. In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed.” – Emperor Palpatine, criticizing the UK’s Equality Bill.
The Pope’s comments were a clear assault on the Equality Bill, which consolidates the past 40 years of equality legislation and aims to expand rules stopping employers from discriminating against gay employees because of their sexuality. Churches and religious organisations are currently exempt from the legislation, an exemption the Pope believes his bishops must make sure they maintain. Last week, an amendment to the Bill which would have more clearly defined which jobs could continue to discriminate against homosexuals was defeated in the House of Lords with help from the Anglican bishops who are also exposed to any expansion of the equality legislation.