Why, despite what the Pope said, the Equality Bill is so important

It’s hard writing something negative about such a respected figure like the Pope.
I’ve been trying to put together a rather angry post about his comments over the UK Equality Bill and the open homophobia within them, but I feel I need to tread carefully when he is worshiped all over the world by millions of people.
I’m not religious. I’m not a Catholic. But the reason I want to tread carefully here is because even though I have personally never particularly looked up to the Pope, I’ve grown up in a society where I’ve been taught to respect other people’s beliefs and not attack them or discriminate against them simply because they do not align with my own.
And this is exactly why, with all due respect, I disagree with the way that the Pope has attacked our Equality Bill saying that it may stop religious communities from acting in accordance with their beliefs.
There are many things which do not make me proud to be British. WAG culture, the rain, stereotypical public school arrogance, obesity, knife crime are a few of these things.
But the continuous strive for equality in this country is one of the things I am proud of. No, I’m not a Communist. I do believe in working hard and getting rewarded for doing so. But I also understand that everyone deserves to at least have the opportunity to begin from the same starting block.
And that is why the Equality Bill is so important. It will strive to push this equal starting block even more forward in our society. It will strive to eradicate further any prejudices there are in our society which may prevent you from getting a job simply because of where you come from, your sexuality or your sex.
If through doing this certain places of work are ‘forced’ to start hiring certain types of people who they would not necessarily like to hire (i.e. churches hiring gay people) then I think this is actually a very positive step forward.
Nothing’s ever black and white in this world, compromises are always having to be made. And right now our society is in the process of deciding that it’s more important for people to be able to work wherever they choose and to not be turned away purely because of who they sleep with than it is for certain groups in society to enact their prejudices against others just so they don’t have to be around people who’s beliefs or way of life is different to theirs.
I really do wonder what kind of an outrage there would be amongst Catholics or Christians or members of any other religion if one of their own was openly turned away from a job as a doctor or builder or data processor purely because that place of work did not agree with the way that person lived their life due to their religious beliefs.
My guess is that that place of work would have far more than the impending Equality Bill to worry about.
By Sophie Hudson

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