Preserving religious freedom, including the right to manifest diverse beliefs, is a cornerstone of an open, liberal and tolerant society, the C of E Archbishops’ Council says in its response to proposals for a Single Equality Bill. Others say the Church is being too defensive.
Furious at government policy on gay adoptions and other issues, Scotland's Catholic bishops have sent a letter round to churches with a thinly-veiled call for a anti-Labour vote in the the forthcoming elections.
The announcement that there will be no opt-out for Catholic adoption agencies from the Sexual Orientation Regulations, has been interpreted as posing a threat to the involvement of churches in public life.
A prominent evangelical Christian, the Rev Malcolm Duncan, who heads up the Faithworks movement ‚Ä' which is involved in public service provision ‚Ä' has welcomed the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs) that some Catholic and Anglican leaders have described as compromising their consciences.
Tony Blair announced on Monday (29th January 2007) that faith-based adoption agencies will not have special exemptions from the new Sexual Orientation Regulations, but that they will have a ‚Äòtransition period' of 21 months before the SORs come fully into force at the end of 2008. He also paid tribute to the work of agencies motivated by religious faith, and stated that it was important to ensure that the expertise and services of these groups was not lost.
The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) has given a broad welcome to Prime Minister Tony Blair's proposal that adoption agencies currently operating under restrictions imposed by Roman Catholic bishops should be given 21 months to find a way of continuing to serve children without discriminating against lesbian and gay couples.