The Liberal Democrats have have called for Ruth Kelly to stand down from her role of Equalities Minister following reports that she has blocked plans which require organisations to provide services to people whatever their sexual orientation.
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Women and Equality, Lorely Burt MP (pictured right) said the law must “not allow any individual or group belief to justify discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, gender or sexual orientation.”
Burt said the party “had always feared that Ruth Kelly’s personal beliefs would make her unsuitable to be a champion of gay rights. Unfortunately these fears have become reality and she should now stand down.”
Kelly’s stance is in marked contrast to that taken by London Mayor Ken Livingstone who took on holiday company Sandals after they ran adverts on the London Underground stating their holidays were for “mixed sex couples only.”
The LibDem’s calls are echoed by the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association.
GALHA secretary George Broadhead said: “We raised the alarm at the time of her appointment that there would be a conflict between her allegiance to an extreme wing of the Catholic Church and her ability to serve the interests of LGBT people fairly.
These latest events indicate that she is putting her loyalty to Opus Dei first”
Meanwhile Quest, a lesbian and gay Catholic pressure group, has told politics.co.uk: “If it is true that Ruth Kelly has been attempting to block gay rights legislation in the areas of faith schools and Catholic adoption services it puts her directly in conflict with numerous pledges made by her own party on civil rights and equality for lesbian and gay people.”
Related link: The Homophobia of Opus Dei (forum discussion)