Sexual Orientation Equality and Religious Exceptionalism in the Law of the United Kingdom: The Role of the Church of England
Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 2017
Posted: 26 Apr 2017 Last revised: 2 Sep 2017
Date Written: April 25, 2017
There is a growing literature that addresses the appropriateness and merits of including exceptions in law to accommodate faith-based objections to homosexuality. However, what has rarely been considered and, as a consequence, what is generally not understood, is how such religious exceptions come to exist in law. This article provides a detailed analysis of the contribution of the Church of England to ensuring the inclusion of religious exceptions in United Kingdom legislation designed to promote equality on the grounds of sexual orientation. The article adopts a case study approach that, following the life of one piece of anti-discrimination legislation, shows the approach of the Church of England in seeking to insert and shape religious exceptions in law. The analysis contributes to broader debates about the role of the Church of England in Parliament and the extent to which the United Kingdom, as a liberal democracy, should continue to accommodate the Church’s doctrine on homosexuality in statute law.
Keywords: Church of England, Discrimination, Equality, Lords Spiritual, Parliament, Sexuality
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