The Government’s equality watchdog has funded a top gay lobby group to advise employers on dealing with the ‘clash’ between sexual orientation and religious liberty rights.
Stonewall’s 38-page guide, Sexual Orientation and Religion: How to manage relations in the workplace, was produced with funding from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
The lobby group’s Chief Executive, Ben Summerskill, is an EHRC Commissioner.
Stonewall backs Islington Council’s attempt to force Christian employee, Lillian Ladele, to act against her religious beliefs on marriage. Her legal case is ongoing.
The group is also supporting a legal action by a gay couple who are suing the Christian owners of a guest house because they have a ‘married couples only’ policy for double rooms.
Stonewall is also pushing to remove a free speech protection passed by Parliament last year which makes clear that criticising homosexual conduct isn’t, in itself, a crime.
The EHRC has previously given £35,000 to an atheist group, part of which funded another set of guidelines for employers in which it claimed that Christians who evangelise at work could be breaking the law.
The guidance, from the British Humanist Association (BHA), claims that attempts by religious believers to proselytise “are highly likely to amount to harassment of their colleagues”.
The head of the EHRC recently appeared to regret appointing an evangelical Christian to the Commission because it upset gay and atheist campaigners.
Trevor Phillips said if he had anticipated the reaction to the appointment of Joel Edwards, formerly the head of the Evangelical Alliance (EA), there might have been a different outcome.
In September 2008 it was revealed that a senior official at the Equality and Human Rights Commission told a fringe meeting of trade unionists that the Commission would act to root out ‘homophobia’ in religion.