Britain backs down on church reform law

Paolo Totaro; 4/2/10

The British government has caved in to pressure from the Pope and churches by abandoning controversial reforms that would have forced religious groups to abide by anti-discrimination laws. The amendments drawn up by Labour would have effectively removed the right of churches and religious schools not to employ homosexuals. They drew unprecedented public criticism of another nation’s legislature by the Pope, who described them as a violation of ”natural justice”. But the proximity of a national election, which is due in May, and strong opposition to the changes, particularly in the House of Lords, has drained the beleaguered government’s resolve. The Minister for Equality, Harriet Harman, has battled for years to make churches and religious groups, including faith schools, abide by anti-discrimination legislation.