EU High Court Accepts Landmark Christian Challenge to UK “Diversity” Law

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

The European Court of Human Rights has decided to intervene in a landmark legal challenge brought by four Christians which will determine if the UK’s controversial “diversity” law has been infringing on the rights of Christians to act in accordance with their faith.

The Christian Post is reporting that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg told the UK government that it must clarify their divisive Equity Law which was designed to prevent discrimination against minorities and homosexuals. They have been ordered to issue a clear statement about whether or not it backs the right of Christians to wear the cross and opt out of the legislation.

The cases which sparked the Court’s intervention were brought by four Christians who feel they were discriminated against by enforcement of the Equity Law: Nadia Eweida, a British Airways worker who was prevented from wearing a cross necklace; former registrar Lillian Ladele , who was disciplined for refusing to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies; Christian relationship counsellor Gary McFarlane, who was fired by counseling service Relate for saying he could not give sex therapy counseling to gay couples; and Shirley Chaplain, a nurse who was banned from working on hospital wards after refusing to remove her cross necklace.

All four applicants lost their appeals in the British courts.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, founder and director of the Christian Legal Center, who is representing two of the applicants, called the cases “massively significant.”

“There seems to be a disproportionate animosity towards the Christian faith and the workings of the courts in the U.K. has led to deep injustice,” she said. “If we are successful in Strasbourg I hope the Equalities Act and other diversity legislation will be overturned or overhauled so that Christians are free to work and act in accordance with their conscience.”

She added: “People with orthodox views on sexual ethics are excluded from employment because they don’t fit in with the equalities and diversity agenda. It is this which we want to see addressed. Such injustice cannot be allowed to continue.”

After UK ministers have responded, the European court will decide whether to have full hearings on the matter.

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