Sexual Orientation, Religion and Belief

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2009 National LGBT Conference
27 July 2009
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that work place discrimination against Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) people became illegal in December 2003 and discrimination on accessing goods and services for LGB people became illegal in April 2007.

Conference is saddened by the remarks made by Bishop Nazir-Ali, Anglican Bishop of Rochester, when he commented in July 2009, at the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, that “homosexuals should repent and be changed”

Conference further notes that comments such as those espoused by Bishop Nazir-Ali are not supported by most people of faith, as evidenced in the 2007 YouGov report ‘Living Together’, where “the majority of people of faith have no problem with sexual orientation equality.” Conference additionally notes that Bishop Nazir-Ali has been, as indeed have many others of faith and of none, a strong supporter of tackling world poverty and injustices faced by other disadvantaged groups across the world.

Conference upholds the right for people to hold particular beliefs but that this right is set in a context which reaffirms and focuses on the dignity of the individual. Conference supports the position that a right to a belief, or non belief, does not give the right to denigrate the human rights of others and it is simply not acceptable for staff who wish to express their religious or other beliefs within the workplace to do so in a way that amounts to discrimination. Conference further supports that people have a responsibility to uphold dignity and respect, especially in the workplace, irrespective of their personal belief.

Conference calls upon the UNISON National Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Committee to work proactively and positively with organisations like the Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement, Imaan (the organisation for LGBT Muslims) and others, to work towards counteracting any perceived tensions between faith and sexual orientation. Conference also calls on the National Committee to work in a similar way to contribute towards counteracting perceived tensions between faith and gender identity. Conference further supports the UNISON National LGBT Committee’s involvement in campaigns that raise awareness of the need for dignity and respect regardless of someone’s religious belief, non belief and/or sexual orientation or gender identity.