THE DÁIL HAS passed a Bill that will make it illegal for religious-run schools to discriminate against LGBT teachers over their sexuality.
The Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 amends the provisions of Section 37(1) of the Employment Equality Act.
It has already passed through the Seanad, and will now go to the President for signing.
Section 37 allows for discrimination against workers based on their family status and sexual orientation.
As explained last year when the news about the change broke:
In Ireland, schools run by the Catholic Church (which is the vast majority) are exempt from certain aspects of equality law because of their religion’s ethos and teachings. They were given an exemption to the European Equality Directive back in 2000 which allows for this ethos to be upheld during recruitment.
Labour TD Aodhán Ó Riordáin said that same month:
In its current form, this section of this Act allows religious institutions to discriminate against employees who may contradict their ethos.
The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) welcomed the news. Its Director of Education Policy, Sandra Iwrin-Gowran, said:
We are delighted that this Bill has passed all stages in the Dáil tonight. This Bill is the key piece of the legislative map that will allow LGBT people to be themselves, get married and have a family without a threat to their job if they work in a religious run institution.
She said that to date Section 37.1 “has served to create a chilling effect for many LGBT employees”. “The existing provisions posed a threat of discrimination which has served to silence thousands of teachers in our schools,” said Irwin Gowran.
She said that tonight’s move will go “a long way towards thawing the threat hanging over LGBT and other employees”.
“We also note where further progress remains to be made for privately funded religious-run institutions, for trans people and for those of no religion,” added Irwin Gowran.
“The passage of this Bill by the Oireachtas marks the final step in a remarkable year for equality for LGBT people” said Kieran Rose, Co-Chair of GLEN.
“We would like to express our thanks to Minister Aodhán O’Ríordán and Ministers Frances Fitzgerald and Jan O’Sullivan and the officials at the Department of Justice for their great achievement in bringing this Bill to fruition. TDs and Senators from all sides of the House have strongly backed this Bill throughout its development.”
He added that the Bill “has wider implications for our schools and in particular for LGBT young people; it provides a critical springboard for the cultural change necessary in our schools”.