Friday, November 19, 2010

EU Official Says Church Schools Cannot Refuse To Hire Gays and Lesbians

In a September, Elzbieta Radziszewska, a senior Polish official who deals with anti-discrimination issues, told a Catholic newspaper that church-owned schools and colleges could refuse to hire homosexuals and could fire those already employed where that is consistent with their church's values and principles.  Yesterday's Christian Century reports that European Union Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding disagrees, saying that sexual orientation cannot be a genuine occupational requirement for a teacher. On October 26, in response to parliamentary questions, Redding issued a written statement saying that while under EU's directive on equal treatment in employment religious organizations are allowed to take a person's religion or belief into account where necessary, that exception does not justify discrimination on ground other than religion or belief. Radziszewska responded that the EU directive allows religious organizations to insist that employees be loyal to the organization's ethics, and those who are not need not be employed in institutions where these are essential job qualifications.