Sir: The Law Society General Council will meet on Thursday (7 October) to discuss a new antidiscrimination professional practice rule. The rule will deal with discrimination on grounds of sex, race, disability and sexual orientation. In the original consultation papers, sexual orientation was omitted. Following representations, it has been included, but with a special 'opt-out' clause which would allow solicitors to discriminate against lesbian and gay clients and employees if they have 'a genuine religious conviction or reason of conscience for doing so'. This not only flies in the face of reason, it ignores the practice of other corporations, public and professional bodies.
The Bar Council, the Metropolitan Police and a number of other police forces, the BBC, British Rail, British Airways, British Telecom, the Midland Bank, London Underground, to name just a handful of large employers, all deal with discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in their employment policies.
We sincerely hope that the Law Society General Council will come into line with good employment and professional practice.