Equality and the law are deeply intertwined and the relationship between the two has grown and developed over the years to the point that the law has recognised positive discrimination as acceptable in certain cases. This was in an attempt to reassert the balance in favour of the people who were originally treated unfavourably by society and the law. It is now the case that most people are on far more of an even footing with each other, whether male or female, gay or straight, black or white. However, the law cannot provide for every situation or individual and with society changing and throwing up new legal challenges no law will ever be perfect and challenges will arise!
The last few months have seen a number of equality challenges from around the world spanning a BNP bus driver (see our previous blog on this!), female bishops and gay rights.
Firstly, from across the pond, the USA has seen some significant changes to gay rights, specifically gay marriage and some very controversial ‘conversion therapy’. I’m sure you’re thinking I hope conversion therapy isn’t what it sounds like but unfortunately it is; a therapy to turn gay children and teenagers straight. Fortunately, California has recognised how damaging this therapy can be, causing depression and sometimes suicide in some ‘participants’. For these reasons the use of conversion therapy has been outlawed within the state and it is hopeful other suits employing this therapy will shortly follow suit! In other USA news, gay marriage has been legalised in three additional states and others look promising.
Back on home soil and a little more obscure than the issue of gay rights, female bishops and equality law have clashed. The upshot is that female bishops should be covered by the UK Equality Act 2010 or, if protection is not obtained via the Act, they are able to rely directly on EU gender and anti-discrimination law to protect them. Long gone are the days of the Church of England being able to deny the rise of women throughout the clergy.
Equality is here and is not a concept to be messed with. If the Church of England (as headed by the Queen) can be challenged by equality law, anyone and anything is fair game!
All information is correct on the date of posting.