Sexual Orientation Equality and Religious Exceptionalism in the Law of the United Kingdom: The Role of the Church of England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Publication details

JournalOxford Journal of Law and Religion
DateAccepted/In press - 29 Aug 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 9 Oct 2017
Issue number3
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)498-522
Early online date9/10/17
Original languageEnglish


There is a growing literature that addresses the appropriateness and merits of including exceptions in law to accommodate faith-based objections to homosexuality. However, what has rarely been considered and, as a consequence, what is generally not understood, is how such religious exceptions come to exist in law. This article provides a detailed analysis of the contribution of the Church of England to ensuring the inclusion of religious exceptions in United Kingdom legislation designed to promote equality on the grounds of sexual orientation. Drawing on a case study that traces the life of one piece of anti-discrimination legislation, the article documents the multi-faceted approach of the Church of England to seeking, securing and shaping religious exceptions in law. The analysis contributes to broader debates about the role of the Church of England in Parliament and the extent to which the United Kingdom, as a liberal democracy, should continue to accommodate the Church’s doctrine on homosexuality in statute law.

Bibliographical note

© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

Discover related content

Find related publications, people, projects, datasets and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations