Ruth Kelly, our esteemed Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Minister for Women. Or, for short, Minister for Equality. She’s been very vocal of late, has Ruth, waxing lyrical about how religious diversity is to be protected at all costs (presumably because - as per the 'school dinners' debacle - that’s what is making headlines this week, and causing Daily Mail columnists to froth at the mouth – and it’s not even a full moon).
Sexual preference, it would seem, is a different matter.
If a business were to refuse the custom of a person on the grounds of their religion (if, for example, said customer was partial to wearing veils – dunno where I got that one from) we’d be reading reams of inflammatory nonsense about it from here till Easter. In Ruth’s World, however, if a Catholic hotelier refuses to give a bed for the night to a holidaying gay couple, that’s absolutely fine.
Thanks for clearing that up Ruth. Glad to see personal politics doesn’t play a part in how you help to run the country.
Now, where’s my dictionary? I think I’d better go back and relearn my definitions of ‘diversity’, ‘community’ and ‘prejudice’…
Ruth, speaking on 24th August 2006
"I want to start by saying that I believe that Britain's diversity is a huge asset to our country - economically, culturally and socially.
The capital's diversity now commonly acknowledged to be one of its key attractions…And I believe that we should celebrate and clearly articulate the benefits that migration and diversity have brought - but while celebrating that diversity we should also recognise that the landscape is changing, changing rapidly. And we should not shy away from asking - and trying to respond to - some of the more difficult questions that arise."
Ruth quoted on the BBC, 8th October 2006
Ruth Kelly yesterday defended the wearing of the veil as a 'personal choice' by Muslims that must be respected. She made her comments as the Cabinet began distancing itself from Jack Straw's disclosure that he asked women attending his constituency surgery to uncover their faces.
Kelly, the Women's Minister and Communities Secretary, also warned that more serious threats to female freedom must not be 'swept under the carpet', citing the refusal of some Muslim families to let their daughters go to university for fear of exposure to undesirable influences or the failure to confront domestic violence in the Muslim community.
Daily Mail, 14th October 2006
A bitter Cabinet row has broken out over sweeping new gay rights laws aimed at punishing businesses which refuse to serve homosexuals, it emerged yesterday.
The Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly, a devout Catholic, has blocked the plans following a storm of protest from churches and other opponents.
The measures were meant to make discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation illegal in the same way as race or sex.
Miss Kelly, who is a member of the controversial Catholic organisation Opus Dei and a reluctant supporter of gay rights, has already delayed the introduction of the laws and is now considering shelving them altogether.