Friday, January 05, 2007

Freedom to Discriminate

So the CU at Exeter Uni has gone through with their threat to sue their Student Guild after they were suspended for breaching the Guilds equal opportunities policy. In effect they are seeking to argue that the Human Rights Act gives them the right to discriminate on grounds of religion and sexual orientation because of their beliefs.

This of course is only one in a string of cases were UCCF sponsored Christian Unions have been thrown out of Student Unions. Generally this has been as a result of campaigns by LGB(T) societies responding to UCCF's notorious and active homophobia. However it has been their arrogance, their belief that the rules don't apply to them, not their homophobia that has been many CUs undoing. At Exeter they have got into trouble because they insisted that only those who passed a religious test could join, despite the Guild's rule that societies who wish to be affiliated to it (and take its money) must be open to all students.

Exeter CU have gone to court to argue that this insistence on equal opportunities by the Guild infringes their religious freedom. That not allowing them to discriminate against non-evangelical Christians and queers is an attack on their Human Rights. The scary thing is that because of S13 of the Human Rights Act that in effect states that religious freedom trumps all others they actually may have an arguable case. I will be following this one closely.


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