· News

Cutting Edge Consortium calls for religious opt-outs to be removed from Equality Bill

The rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) employees got a significant boost yesterday evening as the Cutting Edge Consortium called for 'religious opt-outs' to be removed from the Equality Bill.

A number of religious organisations, including faith schools, wish to opt out of the Equality Bill on the grounds that their religious beliefs conflict with homosexual tendencies.

But at a meeting last night in the House of Commons the Cutting Edge Consortium, a coalition of trade unions, faith groups and human rights organisations launched this year to provide a forum for progressive faith and secular organisations, argued LGBT employees should never be discriminated against by any employer.

Groups in the coalition include the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM), the religion and society think tank Ekklesia, the Muslim Women's Network, Liberal Judaism, the British Humanist Association (BHA) and the TUC.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Government legislation which recognises the diversity of the workforce is to be welcomed. But the rights of LGBT union members who work for faith schools and religious organisations must be protected.

"Teachers, education support staff and employees of faith-based charities and other religious organisations all deserve equal rights at work, regardless of their sexuality."