Religious Organizations and the Impact of Human Rights and Equality Laws in England and Wales

Kingsley Purdam, P Weller, S Contractor, N Ghanea

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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)1-16
JournalPolitics, Religion & Ideology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2017


  • Belief, Citizenship, Equality, Identity, Religion, Rights, Secular

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Cathie Marsh Institute


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