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2004 National Lesbian & Gay Conference
20 November 2004

This Conference welcomes the introduction of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.

Conference notes that in the High Court action over the Sexual Orientation regulations, the Judge ruled against the unions on both Regulation 7 (3) Religion and Belief Exemption and Regulation 25 Marriage. However, the judge accepted that a tight interpretation of Regulation 7 (3) goes a long way to making the clause irrelevant.

Conference is concerned:

1That many people still incorrectly believe that religious employers are exempt from the scope of the regulations even though the vast majority of LGB workers in these organisations are entitled to the full protection of the regulations;

2That the regulations do not provide protection from discrimination in the provision of goods and services;

3That large numbers of our members and stewards as well as many managers are unaware of ways in which the treatment of lesbian and gay members may contravene the new regulations (for example the failure to recognise the right to be out at work and the need to tackle harassment).

Conference remains committed to eliminating discrimination against lesbians and gay men on religious grounds.

Conference therefore instructs the NLGC to:

A.Work with other trade unions to monitor the situation on how the exemption is used;

BChallenge any misleading reports in the press;

CWork with the NEC, Stonewall, and other appropriate organisations to press the Government to extend the provisions to include protection from discrimination in the provision of goods and services;

DContinue to work at all levels of the union to raise awareness of the regulations, encouraging stewards and branches to take up training in this area so that our members get the protection they deserve and need.