Friday, 23 July 2010

Equality law and women bishops

H/t Thinking Anglicans.

In the above interview, Robert Key discusses the implications of the discrimination that will be inherent in the legislation for women bishops in the light of the Equality Act. Synod voted for Clause seven, that the legislation should be exempt from certain key aspects of equality legislation.
I have blogged before about signs that many are keenly aware that the Church may end up breaking the law! The Revision Committee has said that the debate in the Commons around the legality of discrimination in religious organisations did influence its decision to reconsider its early proposal to allow vesting by statutory transfer. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York also seemed to have an eye to equality legislation in their rather tenuous assertions that co-ordinate jurisdiction would avoid gender discrimination.
The likelihood is that the legality of the Church of England’s position will increasingly become a thorn in its flesh.


  1. So, if the C of E is in danger of becoming an outlaw organization, what does this do to English Catholics? Is Catholic Emancipation thereby repealed?

  2. Catholic emancipation applied to Roman Catholics, I believe Rick. Anglo Catholics still recognised the monarch as Supreme Governor and so were not debarred from any offices, institutions or privileges. There are no Roman Catholics in the C of E, so I don't think the question is relevant.

    If Parliament were to decide that the Roman Catholic church in England was breaking the law by not employing female priests (which I do not think would be on the cards in the forseeable future) your question might be more relevant. I suppose the law would argue that Roman Catholics still do not face discrimination, in that they would not be excluded from certain professions or universities, but that they would not be free TO discriminate. But I am not a lawyer.