Religionists Demand "The Right To Discriminate"
Tonight's protest against sexual orientation regulations.
London - 21 March 2007
"This protest is an attempt to preserve the right of religious organisations to discriminate against lesbian and gay people. It is a dishonourable protest in support of a dishonourable cause - homophobic discrimination," said Peter Tatchell of the gay human rights group OutRage!
He was commenting on tonight's planned protest outside parliament by religious fundamentalists. They are opposing the new sexual orientation regulations that will protect lesbian and gay people against discrimination. A Conservative member of the House of Lords, Baroness O'Cathain, will tonight attempt to rescind the regulations.
"If the zealots succeed in overturning the new regulations church schools will be able to expel gay pupils; faith-based nursing homes will be allowed to refuse gay patients; and religious charities like night-shelters will be free to turn away homeless gay people," added Mr Tatchell.
"The opponents of the sexual orientation regulations are promoting a highly selective and homophobic interpretation of religious morality.
"They are singling out homosexuality from all other so-called 'sins,' and demanding the right, on religious grounds, to discriminate against gay people. But they are not campaigning for the right to discriminate against other 'sinners', such as adulterers, unwed mothers, thieves, murderers or rapists - only gays.
"The government's new regulations merely extend to gay people the anti-discrimination laws that already protect women, black, disabled and religious people.
"These fundamentalists are demanding that religious organisations should be exempt from the law. They want to permit religious doctors, schools, hoteliers and charities to turn away gay people - in the name of 'freedom of religion'.
"Tonight's protest is the latest attempt to import into Britain the dishonest, dirty ticks of US Christian fundamentalism.
"The protest leaders claim the sexual orientation regulations will 'curtail freedom of religious belief and expression'; alleging that believers who condemn gay sex as a sin will face criminal charges. This is nonsense. The regulations do not concern beliefs or opinions.
"Another lie put about by the fundamentalists is that the regulations would force all schools, including faith schools, to 'promote homosexuality.' As Lord Rooker pointed out, this is untrue. The regulations are not about the content of the school curriculum.
"These falsehoods are typical of the many 'Big Lies' on which the religious fundamentalist campaign is based. It has succeeded in frightening many Christians, who have now rallied to the ignoble cause of homophobic discrimination. They have been hoodwinked, said Mr Tatchell".
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