Keeping faith with free speech? 2

December 15, 2006

Rowan Williams rightly emphasises the importance of free speech when considering the complex issue of the relationship between Christianity and sexual orientation. However, he is on weaker ground in seeking to draw a distinction between sexual orientation and sexual behaviour. In 2004, in a landmark High Court ruling, the Honourable Mr Justice Richards concluded that, as a matter of law, "I do not consider there to be any material difference between (sexual orientation and sexual behaviour). Sexual orientation and its manifestation in sexual behaviour are both inextricably connected with a person's private life and identity."

This judgment reflects the reality of society today. Refusing to distinguish between sexual orientation and sexual behaviour, and acting accordingly, should not be interpreted as a fear of open argument.

Nicola Dandridge
Chief executive
Equality Challenge Unit

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