Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Religious Freedom in European Contract Law

by Luca Ettore Perriello

The recent case of Lee v Ashers Bakery has raised the question of whether or not freedom of religion may justify a provider’s refusal to serve a customer because of his sexual orientation. Businesses and in general, all activities that involve relationships with the public at large are a crucial touchstone for the non-discrimination principle. Under European law, people engaged in the public offering of goods, services and employment are not entitled to discriminate, not even on religious grounds. Accommodation of religious belief would bring about disquieting consequences relating to the equality and dignity of vulnerable minorities. No distinction can be drawn between status and conduct and the forced speech argument seems to have a very different scope of application.

DOI 10.23815/2421-2156.ITALJ           ISSN 2421-2156

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