Gay Rights Regulations Passed, Christians Protest

An eleventh-hour attempt from a Conservative peer to overturn controversial gay rights regulations was last night defeated in the House of Lords.

The motion put forward by Baroness O'Cathain in objection to the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations was defeated by 168 to 122 votes.

As the debate was taking place, around 1,000 Christians gathered outside the Houses of Parliament to take part in a prayer vigil organised by Christian Concern for Our Nation against the regulations.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, Public Policy Officer at the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, said the passing of the regulations marked "the imposition of a new morality".

She said that ordinary Christians may now be sued if they refuse to provide a good or service to homosexuals on grounds of conscience.

"The new laws today will impose upon us a new morality and if we don't accord to that morality we will find ourselves falling foul of the law," she told Christian Today.

The LCF previously criticised the Government for passing through the regulations undemocratically, saying they had been "rushed through Parliament without proper debate and proper procedure".

Ms Williams, meanwhile, said the regulations indicated growing persecution in the UK and that the church needed to "awaken" to the fact that Christians in the UK were being "persecuted by a silencing across the church".

She said that Christians were being pushed out of the public square and were now unable to live according to their values, adding that the new regulations were a "censorship" of Christian values.

"That is at the very least the beginning of persecution. And that is something we need to be very alive to," she said.

"We are no longer able to live according to these [Christian] values and there is the beginning of oppression. Things that are against God's will are being legislated and it would be good if the church could wake up just upon hearing that and call the nation back to Christ, call for revival in this land."

The LCF said it would be looking to challenge the regulations and that it would defend Christians finding themselves taken to court under the new regulations.

"These are battles that we are going to have to fight," said Williams.