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Equality Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:39 am on 9th June 2009.

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William Fittall: That is exactly right. I should have said, as we did in our briefing to proceedings on Second Reading, that we broadly support the objectives of the Bill. Gay rights are important, and people should not in general be discriminated against in the workplace. You are talking about how to balance conflicting rights. The issue is where you strike the balance. Our contention is that it ought to be possible through judicious amendments to strike that balance more satisfactorily.

At the end of the day, we want equality. We also want to preserve religious liberty, which has been an important hallmark of this nation down the years. However wrong people might believe individual Churches or other faith groups are on some issues—whether it is their attitude to divorce, whether women should be priests or same-sex conduct—it must ultimately be part of the teaching of that particular faith strand.