Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Good news!

Bangkok - young love, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

The dark forces of outdated hate-inducing religion received a big setback when an attempt by an Irish peer to rescind the Sexual Orientation Regulations in Northern Ireland failed last night. The House of Lords voted three-to-one against the motion put forward by Lord Morrow despite a protest of a thousand religious bigots, of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish persuasion, outside the Houses of Parliament.

The SOR simply makes it illegal to discriminate against gay people in the provision of goods and services (such as a hotel room or the hire of a village hall for a party). Apparently, the bigots felt that their religious beliefs should take precedence over a law requiring all people to be treated the same. In other words they wanted to retain the right to discriminate in modern day Britain, claiming that their right to hold and act upon their hateful beliefs should take precedence. The campaign they waged was described as a highly inflammatory and well-funded campaign to oppose these much-needed protections reached depths of unpleasantness which we haven’t seen for some years, by Ben Summerskill of Stonewall.

In the debate, Lord Chris Smith, the first openly gay MP and a former cabinet minister, told his fellow peers that, "It seems to me, in my simplistic way, that what they are arguing for is quite simply the right to discriminate and the right to harass. And those arguments are being made in the name of Christianity" (also Islam and Judaism).

Well, the Lords knew what to do and they gave these forces of darkness short shrift, giving a gay-related measure its biggest ever majority in either House.

It is now expected that Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly (albeit a member of Opus Dei) will announce the detail of similar robust protections for the rest of Great Britain very swiftly, there being clear evidence that they will not meet parliamentary opposition.

In the meantime, not such good news from the Netherlands where a Christian school in Amsterdam has said it will not recruit openly gay teachers as they regard being gay as a sin. Also, in another article, we read that three Christian schools in the area of Ede have refused to admit three Burmese children ot their schools. It turns out that the Christian schools in that area are cherry picking white (ie native Dutch) people, leaving the state schools to educate more-than-their-fair-share of non-native Dutch people. Of course, it goes without saying that the Christian schools obtain the vast majority of funding from the State, from taxpayers like myself.

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