Faith in the Future: Sexuality, Religion and the Public Sphere
Posted: 8 Dec 2009
Date Written: Winter 2009
The clash between religious freedom and equality for lesbians and gay men has become a controversial legal issue in the United Kingdom. Increasingly, claims are made that compliance with anti-discrimination norms impacts upon conscientious, faith-based objectors to same-sex sexual acts. This article explores this issue and draws insights from North American case law, where this question has been considered in the context of competing constitutional rights. It raises far-reaching issues concerning the distinction between belief and practice, as well as the role of identity in the public sphere. The author advocates that courts and tribunals should adopt a fact-specific approach which is sensitive to the rights in a particular context, and which focuses upon the values of accommodation, tolerance and mutual respect.
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