Heterosexual bed & breakfast in Scotland

The Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland has issued the following press release concerning complaints about the Cromasaig Bed and Breakfast website:

Commission concludes ‘heterosexual friendly’ bed and breakfast case

Published: 15 Jun 2017

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in Scotland has reached a successful conclusion in its case against the owners of a bed and breakfast. The EHRC had received several complaints about the Cromasaig Bed and Breakfast website, which previously stated it is a ‘heterosexual friendly bed and breakfast’.

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Freedom of speech, the Prevent duty and higher education

S 43 Education (No. 2) Act 1986 (Freedom of speech in universities, polytechnics and colleges) requires “Every individual and body of persons concerned in the government” of further and higher education institutions to “take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured” for staff, students and visiting speakers. The institutions must ensure, “so far as is reasonably practicable”, that use of the premises is not denied to anyone on any ground connected with their beliefs, views, policy or objectives. On the other hand, the Prevent duty in s 26 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 requires specified authorities – including relevant higher education bodies – to have due regard in the exercise of their functions to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 2nd April

We managed to avoid initiating or endorsing “fake news” on April Fool’s Day…

…although we did enjoy Bishop Paul Bayes’ tweet: “Anglican news: Sodor & Man annexes @LivDiocese. Bp of Warrington invokes Article 50. @paulbayes flees, demands Methodist/CofE citizenship“. However, at L&RUK we will continue to report on issues relating to Brexit, which has tended to attract “fake news” and misinformation from both sides.

Talking of which … Brexit

The Brexit process began on Wednesday, when the UK Ambassador to the EU, Tim Barrow, handed over the Prime Minister’s formal letter of notification under Article 50 TEU to the President of the European Council. Continue reading

French laïcité and the terrorist attacks

The following editorial by Pierre-Henri Prélot, of the Université de Cergy-Pontoise, appears in the latest Newsletter of ICLARS (the International Center for Law and Religion Studies) and is reproduced here with permission.

The French system of laïcité is often described as being quite intolerant towards religions and thereby reluctant to guarantee their freedom in the public sphere. It is quite a common criticism, and it is regularly expressed by (some) French religious authorities, as well as by foreign observers – who can hardly understand how freedom of religion can constitutionally be granted on the basis of what they consider to be the opposite principle. Continue reading

Opposite-sex civil partnerships? Steinfeld & Anor in the Court of Appeal

S 1(1) Civil Partnership Act 2004 stipulates that only a same-sex couple may conclude a civil partnership: “A civil partnership is a relationship between two people of the same sex…”. In June 2014 the Coalition Government published the results of its second consultation on the future of civil partnership: Civil Partnership Review (England and Wales) – Report on Conclusions. After considering the responses to that consultation, the Government decided that it would not be making any changes at present.

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan were refused permission to register a civil partnership at Chelsea Town Hall registry office and sought a declaration that, as a result of the enactment of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, the bar in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 on opposite-sex couples registering as civil partners had become incompatible with Article 14 ECHR (discrimination) taken in conjunction with Article 8 (respect for private and family life). Their claim for a declaration of incompatibility was unsuccessful at first instance: see Steinfeld & Anor v The Secretary of State for Education [2016] EWHC 128 (Admin) and Adam Wagner’s very helpful summary on RightsInfo. On appeal, they lost by two to one. Continue reading

CORAB and Living with Difference: a secularist response

Just over a year ago, the Woolf Institute’s Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, chaired by Baroness Butler-Sloss and otherwise known as CORAB, published Living with Difference: community, diversity and the common good. On 17 January, the University of Warwick’s Department of Politics and International Studies formally launched A Secularist Response to the Commission on Religion in Public Life, based on the outcome of panel discussions in March 2016 chaired by Dr Steven Kettell.  Continue reading