Churches in Britain could be forced to hire LGB&T people against the tenets of their faith when employing staff under planned Labour equality laws.
The new Equality Bill could require them to take on candidates who do not fit in with their religious doctrine when recruiting key staff such as faith school headteachers or youth workers.
At the moment, organised religions have a special status that lets them turn down applicants whose lifestyles conflict with the churches’ beliefs, even if they are otherwise well qualified for the job. But religious leaders are concerned the proposed law will restrict their ability to employ lay people who share their values.
The Bill – introduced by Equality Minister Harriet Harman in the Commons last year – is being debated in the Lords today.
Churches and mosques are allowed to reject candidates for jobs as ministers or priests if they are actively gay, if they have changed their sex or are women.