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Equality Bill completes voyage through House of Lords

The Equality Bill has completed its third reading at the House of Lords. Changes made by the Lords will now be considered by the House of Commons before Royal Assent is sought, the final stage before the long awaited draft legislation becomes law.

 
Changes made by the Lords include:-
 
• Adding a power to outlaw caste discrimination. The Commons will now look into the issue to see if action is needed.
 
• Removing the prohibition on Civil Partnerships taking place in religious premises. This move, which was supported by religious groups including the Quakers and Liberal Judaism, means religious groups will be allowed to let Civil Partnership ceremonies take place in their churches, mosques, synagogues and so on if they choose to do so. It will not force any religious group to do anything that is not compatible with their faith.
 
• A ban on asking for health and disability information prior to making a job offer. This will stop employers screening job applications to avoid interviewing people with disabilities.
 
Commenting on the bills progress Minister for Women and Equality Harriet Harman said:-
 
"I’m pleased that the Equality Bill has completed its Third Reading in  the House of Lords and I want to thank our ministers in the Upper Chamber, Jan Royall and Glenys Thornton, for their hard work and commitment in steering it through to this stage."
 
"This is a historic piece of legislation that contains a range of new rights, powers and obligations to help the drive towards equality, including tackling the overarching inequality caused by where you are born and what your parents do for a living."
 
"I look forward to it taking its place on the statute books following further scrutiny by the House of Commons, but that will not be the end of the story. After the Bill is passed we will set to work implementing and enforcing it, putting equality firmly at the centre of Government."
 
For more information on the Equality Bill, including full details of all amendments made by the House of Lords, visit http://www.equalities.gov.uk/equality_bill.aspx
Posted by Asif Yusuf

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