Religious Belief

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 14th February 2013.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

We will continue to support religious freedoms strongly. For example, the Government believe that people should be able to wear crosses openly at work, and we are pleased about the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the Eweida case. The right of people to manifest their religion or belief at work is a vital freedom.

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

What weight is accorded to religious beliefs in draft legislation such as the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill? Should it not be equal, in the context of discrimination, to the weight accorded to gender?

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

My hon. Friend, who takes a keen interest in this issue, will know that religious freedom is guaranteed under article 9 of the European convention on human rights. However, just as it is right for people to be able to express their religious beliefs, people in this country have a right not to be discriminated against. The recent rulings in the European Court show that, in law, we have the balance about right.

Several hon. Members:

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