The news comes after the Equalities Commission advised that it
will be looking to establish a principle of "reasonable compromise"
to accommodate people's religious beliefs.
Earlier this week, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has
said there should be a compromise between gay equality and
They claim that judges have interpreted equality law "too
narrowly" and suggest that they should accommodate both sides
In response, GALHA Chair Adam Knowles told DIVA: "It is simply
wrong for people to claim that if they are not allowed to
discriminate against gay people then they themselves are somehow
being discriminated against. However the real implications of the
case transcend questions of gay rights or religious rights.
"The whole issue of 'reasonable compromise' will be a highly
subjective one. If, for example someone is exempted from providing
services to gay couples because of their religious objections, then
anyone with a deeply held belief on any subject would on the face
of it be entitled to make a similar claim. For example a public
sector employee might have a conscientious objection to religiously
run schools and refuse to deal with them. Members of the public may
also in turn not wish to be served by people who they saw as
practicing discrimination, further reducing the effectiveness as
well as the fairness of the services. The result would be chaotic
and divisive as we tried to sort out which objections and
compromises were 'reasonable', and which were not.
"As Humanists we believe passionately that everyone should have
the freedom to express their beliefs, including ones that Humanists
or gay people may find objectionable. People also have the right to
follow their beliefs in their personal lives so long as no harm is
done to others. However in providing services to the public,
you either follow the rules, and treat all people equally, or else
essentially you need to look for another job."