Religious organizations and the impact of human rights and equality laws in England and Wales

Kingsley Purdam, Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor, Nazila Ghanea, Paul Weller

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The framework for equality and the multiple aspects of identity that are protected in law, including on the basis of religion and belief, are continuously being redefined and reshaped through ongoing legal claims in England and Wales. In this article, we examine how religious organizations view equality and the extent to which different identity rights can be protected. We conducted a survey of religious organizations in England and Wales to examine attitudes and experiences in relation to changes in the equality laws. We found that equality is variously understood and many religious organizations give only limited recognition to certain legally protected characteristics including gender, sexual orientation and also the identities of other religious organizations. If the integration of equality in the form of identity rights is to be fully achieved within the legal framework of a liberal democratic state and alongside so-called British values, both religious and non-religious citizens alike need to take a greater responsibility for the understanding and recognition of identity differences. Equalities legislation is creating a constitutional framework for citizenship and it is important this new citizenship is structured around equality in practice at the individual and organizational level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-88
Number of pages16
JournalPolitics, Religion and Ideology
Issue number1
Early online date21 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Politics, Religion and Ideology on 21 March 2017, available online:

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Molecular Biology
  • Religious studies

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