Gay Christians warn of evangelical commissioner’s anti-gay crusade

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The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement has claimed that one of the Equality and Human Rights commissioners should never have been appointed.

In a ten-page dossier the LGCM states that Joel Edwards, who is director of The Evangelical Alliance, “has tried to stall or frustrate the passage of almost every single legislative reform or repeal promoting justice and fairness for the UK’s lesbian and gay citizens.”

The EHRC is designed to promote a fair, equal and diverse society and tackling illegal discrimination.

It was established by the Equality Act 2006 and began work last October.

It brought together the three existing UK equality commissions – the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Disability Rights Commission.

The EHRC incorporates three new human rights strands – age, sexual orientation and religion and belief.

The Evangelical Alliance is one of the most strident voices against gay rights in the UK.

Just a few months ago they gave evidence to a House of Commons committee opposing a new crime of incitement to violence on the grounds of sexual orientation.

They launched large-scale campaigns against the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which ensure equality of gay, lesbian and bisexual people when accessing goods and services.

“Joel Edwards will use his position as an Equality Commissioner – overtly or covertly – to push forward this agenda – an agenda that seeks (a) to declassify LGBT people as a social group worthy of the same protection as race, gender and other equality strands, and (b) to lobby internally for religious exemptions from compliance with equality law,” states the LGCM document.

They accuse Mr Edwards of aggressively lobbying against law reforms introducing gay equality, promoting groups seeking to “cure” gay people and seeking “exemptions from the very laws Equality Commissioners are charged with upholding.”

An EHRC spokesperson defended Mr Edwards’ appointment last year:

“Joel Edwards has been appointed by the Secretary of State and we welcome him joining the Commission.

“He is well qualified as leader of the Evangelical Alliance and brings expertise both as a faith leader and a senior figure in the black community.

“The Equality and Human Rights Commission is supposed to represent a wide range of views and opinions and we welcome lively debate.

“No two Commissioners share the same views on every matter; and all Commissioners have their individual disagreements with aspects of law, government and Commission policy; our diversity is one of our strengths.”

Read the LGCM document on their website.