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The next step in equality — Protecting the freedom to differ

By Peter Smith, Conservative Home

The move to bar direct and indirect forms of discrimination over the past 50 years has been, to a great degree, welcome progress. Without doubt it is perniciously unfair to discriminate against people on grounds of their race, and the same is largely true of discrimination because of sex, age or disability (although valid qualifications exist, such as the current ban on women in the infantry, which may yet change).

What has become apparent, however, is that when it comes to sexual orientation, many people consider homosexual acts to be morally wrong. I accept this is a blunt statement for many reasons, but the essence of this view stems from a wider understanding of the magnificence of heterosexual acts in the promises of lifelong marriage, complementarity between the sexes, and the creation and nurturing of new human life. For many people, such views stem from orthodox religious beliefs, and they may be mediated through appeals to historical tradition, reason, nature, and experience.

Yet how is the dynamic of equality represented in same-sex marriage to fare when it clashes with mainstream Christian, Muslim and Jewish views on human sexuality? Where does the equality agenda go now?

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