Poll Results Reveal Widespread Opposition to Sexual Orientation Regulations

An independent opinion poll commissioned by the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship has shown that the government's efforts to push through the new Sexual Orientation Regulations are out of step with public opinion.

More than seven out of 10 in a poll of 1000 adults across Britain agreed with the statement, 'Any law requiring people to promote homosexual practice should be applied selectively so as to ensure that people with strong religious beliefs are not forced to act against their conscience.'

The government has received widespread criticism for using its direct rule powers in Northern Ireland to fast-track laws making it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation.

LCF criticised the government for ignoring the concerns voiced by many faith groups in Northern Ireland and for failing to grant believers exception to the regulations on grounds of individual conscience.

The Northern Ireland Sexual Orientation Regulations were published by the Government on 8 November and are due to come into force by 1 January.

The LCF warned that the regulations are an "infringement of freedom of conscience and freedom to practice Christianity".

"This 'negative resolution procedure' means that the mere elapsing of 40 days from the date of the Regulations being laid will see the SORs become law in Northern Ireland. This in turn will set a dangerous precedent for the England, Wales and Scotland SORs which are due to come into force in April 2007," said Andrea Minichiello Williams, Public Policy Officer at the LCF.

The Northern Ireland regulations can only be amended now if the government agrees to withdraw and amend them or if a member of the House of Commons or House of Lords seeks an annulment of the Sexual Orientation Regulations and sufficient time is granted by the government for the appropriate debate and vote to take place.

The LCF is urging Christians to continue praying and pressurising politicians to oppose the Sexual Orientation Regulations.

"It is only if this prayer and pressure is maintained that there will be any change in the substance of the SORs to protect the freedom to obey the Bible," it said.