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Religious Freedom and Gay RightsEmerging Conflicts in the United States and Europe$
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Timothy Shah, Thomas Farr, and Jack Friedman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190600600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190600600.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 25 January 2022

Gay Rights versus Religious Rights

Gay Rights versus Religious Rights

(p.41) 2 Gay Rights versus Religious Rights
Religious Freedom and Gay Rights

Stephen Law

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the debate between religious freedom and gay rights in the United Kingdom, and considers whether individuals expressing sincerely held religious objections to generally applicable laws should receive special exemptions from those laws. Specifically, it contemplates whether laws aimed at eliminating discrimination on the basis on sexual orientation should be relaxed to accommodate persons claiming religious objections to homosexuality. It concludes that extra weight should not be given to conscientious religious objections simply by virtue of their religious dimension; to do so would be to confer special privilege upon religious individuals and religious claims. When determining a fair balance between competing claims of religious freedom and gay equality, the religious nature of a claim for accommodation is outweighed by the imperative to promote the equality of homosexuals.

Keywords:   conscientious objection, religious objection, discrimination, equality, rights, gay and lesbian, law

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