Calls to fast track legal protection for LGBTQ+ rights and religious beliefs in Guernsey

The Dean of Guernsey and charity Liberate are calling on deputies to pass laws to protect religious beliefs and sexual orientation against discrimination.

The Very Reverend Tim Barker, and the equality charity say they back an amendment which would see both aspects brought into the first phase of the legislation.

The amendment has been proposed by Deputy Parkinson and Deputy Tooley.

Currently the proposed phases of the legislation would see religious belief and sexual orientation left out of the first set of changes to the law.

Sexual orientation would not be included in the discrimination law until phase three, meaning some would be left with no protection for up to two years. 

Guernsey’s Dean and Liberate also have rejected calls for Guernsey to “copy and paste” Jersey’s discrimination legislation as they say it would leave religious beliefs completely unprotected.

Some of us are treated differently and denied access to certain goods, services and even employment purely because of who we are or what we believe in. We all have our own unconscious biases and prejudices and sometimes these spills over into how we treat people and can affect the extent to which we are inclusive of everybody.

The Very Revd Tim Barker, the Dean of Guernsey and Liberate CEO Ellie Jones

They went on to say “legislation leads to education in a community” and consequently “leads to a better understanding of the challenges that different groups of people face”.

Our differences are what make us so special and we should encourage everyone to embrace these differences and work together to make Guernsey the fairest place for everyone to live. If we are to continue the wonderful spirit of ‘Guernsey Together’ we need to make sure that means ‘Guernsey Together for all’ not just for those who reflect our views and our life experiences.

The Very Revd Tim Barker, the Dean of Guernsey and Liberate CEO Ellie Jones

The debate on Guernsey’s discrimination laws is due to begin on Wednesday 15 July.

The proposals for the anti-discrimination law focus on protecting islanders with disabilities and their carers. Should it be voted through, it would also outlaw discrimination based on race.

A Guernsey politician, Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, has put forward an amendment to further involve businesses and employers in the legislation.

But the Guernsey Disability Alliance say it is a "deliberate tactic" to slow down the change.

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