Question 17: Do you think that the operation of the marriage exception as it relates to trans people in the Equality Act 2010 will be affected by changing the Gender Recognition Act?
This exception exists to protect the rights of people not to contravene their own sincerely held religious beliefs by solemnising marriages which they reasonably believe to be, in effect, same-sex marriages.
While I do not share these religious beliefs, I think the right of people to hold them and act in accordance with their own beliefs should be upheld. A change to the procedure for acquiring a GRA is likely to increase the usage of this exception.
The mechanism which is used for this exception (‘reasonable belief’) should be extended to employers and service providers who wish to provide single-sex services or restrict particular posts to members of a single sex. This would resolve the difficulties which currently exist as a result of Section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act.