Monday, January 29, 2007

SORs and the EU, revisited

Update: Gregory Slyzs has responded to this post; see 'comments'.

Background briefing.
Christopher Booker is an expert on the ramifications of EU law for domestic law. As we noted in the earlier post on this issue, the Government tends to do more than the EU demands, and this is indeed the problem here, contrary to the letter to the Catholic Herald from Dr Gregory Slysz.

From CFNews: 'The sight of Chris Bryant and Angela Eagle, the Government's gay and lesbian shock troops, accusing the Catholic Church of trying to 'blackmail' the Government over the gay adoption issue prompted me to look at the explanatory notes to the Equality Act 2006 which set this furore in motion', writes Christopher Booker in today's Sunday Telegraph. 'The chief inspiration for the Act was EU directive 2000/78, 'a general Framewoik for equal treatment in employment and occupation' that outlaws any form of 'discrimination based on religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation'. Our Government chose to extend the meaning of 'employment and occupation' to adoption. But the directive also includes a clause stating that the EU 'respects and does not prejudice the status under national law of churches and religious associations'; and that 'Member States may maintain or lay down specific provisions on genuine, legitimate and justified occupational requirements which might be required for carrying out an occupational activity'. In other words, our Government could have allowed the Catholic Church still to refuse the adoption of children by gay couples (as is the case in other EU countries such as Poland), but it has deliberately decided not to make use of that exemption'. [ST]


Catholic Action UK said...

We are very grateful to Dr Slysz for his informative reply on this complex matter. The precise interpretation of EU legal jargon is not our expertise, and readers must judge for themselves between Dr Booker's understanding of it and Dr Slysz's.

Dr Slysz notes that the EU
is not 'pursuing the matter' with Poland because it would be politically impossible for the legislation to pass in that country. As we noted in our original post, if it were politically impossible in the UK, the Government would go back to the Council of Ministers and say so. EU countries are constantly in breach of their legal obligations. In other words, putting pressure on our own politicians on this matter is not a waste of time.

Even if they had no choice about it at all, such pressure might force them to admit that their hands are tied by Brussels. And that would be something of great value in itself.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir

In your posting on 25 January 2007 entitled “SORs and the EU, revisited” you claim that Christopher Booker’s claims, published in the “Sunday Telegraph”, about the SOR legislation, contradict my assertions made in a letter to the “Catholic Herald” on the 1 December 2006, which you posted on your site on 3 December 2006. In my letter I make it clear that the SOR legislation has been directly inspired by the EU and that the government was compelled by the EU to deny the Church any exemptions. I maintain that this is totally correct. Although Mr Booker is right to point out that the EU’s “anti-discrimination” legislation notes that 'Member States may maintain or lay down specific provisions on genuine, legitimate and justified occupational requirements which might be required for carrying out an occupational activity', he is incorrect on his interpretation of the clause. The key word , from a legal standpoint, is “genuine”. For instance, a Catholic adoption agency may be legally entitled to restrict employment to practicing Catholics if it has a specifically Catholic ethos (although this in itself is debatable), it may not be entitled to refuse to offer children for adoption to homosexual couples since it is providing a service to society as a whole not merely to Catholics. Thus, the courts, and ultimately the European Court, would view denial of a service to a homosexual couple as purely discriminatory since such an act would not constitute a “genuine, legitimate and justified” occupational requirement. A "Catholic" hotelier or a Church hall warden would not be legally allowed to deny homosexual couples their services on similar grounds. Mr Booker is also incorrect in claiming that the denial in Catholic countries like Poland to homosexual couples the right to adopt children is a sign that the EU has no authority to legislate on such matters. The EU simply does not want to pursue this issue in Poland at present given Poland’s current rightist-nationalistic and broadly Catholic government. Such a law would simply not get through parliament. However, as soon as the old communists or a left-wing liberal party is back in power, it will be simply a matter of time before Poland will fully comply with the EU’s “anti-discrimination” legislation. The case of Spain, following the return to power of the Socialists, serves to demonstrate. I outline the history and reasons behind the EU’s campaign against Christianity in a pamphlet I published recently entitled “The New Age of Intolerance: the value conflict between the EU and Christianity” (New Course Publications £5.99, all orders to

Kind regards
Dr Gregory Slysz

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen