I would like to see the religious exemptions in the Equality Bill removed. I am daily thankful to live in this country at this time, and for the many things that the last government did to make this possible, with the increasing acceptance of the right of all people regardless of their ethnicity, gender, age or sexual orientation to live a normal life like anyone else, and to be protected from discrimination or harrassment.
The only institutions that do not have to follow this legal assumption of equal treatment are churches and other religious bodies. They have a legal right to discriminate against women and LGBT people in employment. You can apply for a job, but fail to be short-listed, even if you fulfil the job criteria completely, solely on the grounds of your (assumed) sexual orientation or percieved gender. This would not be legal in any other field of work. What is more concerning is that there is no way for you to tell if this is the reason for your failing to gain a particular job or even an interview – though it is legal for employers to discriminate in this way they are not obliged to tell you, and in fact will not do so out of embarrassment.
If discrimination in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender is not right, then it is not right for everybody. We ought not to protect and preserve a corner of our society in which it is held to be ok – no matter how influential that lobby may be.