New employment legislation will institutionalise discrimination against lesbians and gay men according to, well, everyone except Tony Blair. The 2003 Employment Equality Regulations are riddled with exemptions which allow discrimination on superstitious grounds.
Other major changes to the original draft, allowing discrimination against atheists or others who do not share the religious beliefs of their employer, were made following strong lobbying from evangelical groups. One of the biggest loopholes allows an employer to dismiss or fail to hire an individual if he isnot satisfiedthat they fit his ownethos based on religion or belief.
Critics claim that this would allow firms such as Stagecoach, run by Scottish evangelist Brian Souter, or Vardy, the North-east car dealership owned by millionaire Christian Peter Vardy, to discriminate freely.
No news on whether it allows gay employers the right to sack their employees if they are religious. Still, such regulations should make it easier to dismiss any employees who use this to cause trouble.
Blair gives religious employers the right to sack gay workers—Independent on Sunday, 11th May 2003.