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Religious objections to equality laws: reconciling religious freedom with gay rights

Pearson, Megan Rebecca (2014) Religious objections to equality laws: reconciling religious freedom with gay rights. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis considers how the law should manage conflicts between religious freedom and the prohibition of sexual orientation discrimination. It starts from the basis that both these rights are valuable and worthy of protection, but that such disputes are often characterised by animosity. It contends that a proportionality analysis provides the best method for resolving these conflicts. In particular, it argues that proportionality is a conciliatory method of reasoning because it provides context-dependent and nuanced answers to these issues, providing scope for re-­assessment in future cases, and because it accepts losing claims as in principle as worthy of protection. It is also argued that proportionality is advantageous because it inherently demands justification where rights are infringed. The thesis takes a comparative approach, examining the law in England and Wales, Canada and the USA to demonstrate the clash of rights and to compare how these issues have been dealt with by courts and legislatures. It considers these issues with reference to four areas of law. The first assesses how far employees with discriminatory religious beliefs should be accommodated in the workplace, including whether they should have a right not to perform aspects of their work that are contrary to their beliefs and whether they should be permitted to share their discriminatory views at work. The second considers whether and when religious organisations should be permitted to discriminate in their employment decisions. The third examines how far religious organisations should be permitted to discriminate in providing services, such as charitable services or when hiring out premises, and the fourth whether religious individuals should be allowed to discriminate in the secular marketplace.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Megan Rebecca Pearson
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Law
Supervisor: Gearty, Conor and Möller, Kai

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