Green Party blocks ‘conscience clause’ Bill with Petition of Concern


Leader of The Green Party in Northern Ireland Steven Agnew MLA has confirmed he has countersigned a Petition of Concern to block Paul Givan’s upcoming ‘conscience clause’ bill.

The DUP MLA is proposing to change equality laws in Northern Ireland in a move aimed at allowing businesses to refuse services to a customer if they feel it is against their religious convictions.

“The so called ‘conscience clause’ is nothing but a thinly veiled by attempt to legalise discrimination against LGB people,” Mr Agnew said.

“If this Bill were to go forward, it would turn the clock back on equality laws to a time when it was socially acceptable to treat people who are gay, lesbian or bi-sexual as second class citizens. The ‘conscience clause’ is not only a retrograde step in terms of human rights, but it is also damaging for Northern Ireland’s economy and international reputation.

“Ensuring LGB people can access goods and services without discrimination is good for business, good for the economy and good for Northern Ireland’s reputation with investors. The petition of concern was designed to protect minorities. I am proud that I am able to defend the rights of the LGB community by playing my part in blocking this odious piece of legislation.

“We cannot allow this charter for discrimination to become law.”

19 February 2015

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