Click here to read the text of the debate from the House of Lords
The Government last night rode roughshod over Christian conscience as they won a House of Lords vote on the Sexual Orientation Regulations.
A motion by Democratic Unionist Peer Lord Morrow to annul the Regulations was heavily defeated as the Government's 'pay-roll' vote turned out in force.
The vote means that the Sexual Orientation Regulations are now law in Northern Ireland and will be introduced in England and Wales in April. Scotland will also follow suit.
The Regulations will force the owners of Christian businesses to offer goods and services to homosexuals against their conscience. A Christian photographer could face jail for refusing to take pictures of a civil partnership event. The owner of a guest house would be forced to allow two practising homosexuals to share a bed under his roof. A Christian printer would be acting illegally if he decides not to produce leaflets for a 'gay pride' march.
A similar trend is happening around the world. The government in Brazil is bringing in a similar law. Canada already has one, though nowhere near as draconian as ours, after a court ruled that freedom of conscience must take precedence.
During the House of Lords debate, around two thousand Christians held a torch-lit act of witness opposite the House of Lords to stand up for freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. The Rev Ian Paisley MP came across from the House of Commons to address the protestors. Earlier, a petition of 20,000 names was delivered to Her Majesty the Queen.
It is the fifth time Christians have gathered outside the Houses of Parliament in under eighteen months. In July and October 2005 and then in February 2006 hundreds came to pray against the Governments' religious hatred proposals. The Government were famously defeated by one vote when the Prime Minister missed the final division. Last year also saw a witness against Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying Bill.
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice was at the witness. He said afterwards:
'The Government and their 'gay rights' friends have no right to impose their morality, or lack of it, on the 99% of the population who are not that way inclined. Christians, members of other faiths and indeed of none cannot be forced to act against their conscience by providing services to those whose activities they find perverted, disgusting or simply against the clear, unequivocal word of God.
'The Government have totally misunderstood our position. They think we shall back down. But for Christians, it's a case of "Can't pay, won't pay." In other words it's not that we are merely refusing to go along with the Governments' wickedness. It is that we cannot do it in all conscience. For us to offer our services to those who are carrying on against nature as the children of disobedience would be to deny our faith. We can not and will not do that.
'Already, some churches have said they will close their adoption agencies altogether rather than place children in the hands of homosexuals. Others are planning to stop hiring out their church halls to outside events. It is the wider community which will suffer.
'The Churches are saying to the Government, "If you want a fight, we'll give you one".'
Note: Christian Voice will support any believer or church caught by these anti-Christian regulations. Let us know if you face any problems because of them.