The lower house of Ireland’s parliament Wednesday (2 December) passed a bill banning religious schools from discriminating against LGBTI teachers.
It has already passed the Senate and will now go to the president for signing.
The bill amends Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act, which allows schools and hospitals to ‘takes action’ to prevent employees from ‘undermining the religious ethos of the institution.’
The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network said the amendment would remove the ‘chill factor’ for the LGBTI employees of religious schools – which are the vast majority in Catholic Ireland.
‘We are delighted that this bill has passed all stages in the Dáil tonight,’ said Sandra Irwin-Gowran, director of education policy at GLEN.
‘This bill is the key piece of the legislative map that will allow LGBT people to be themselves, get married and have a family without a threat to their job if they work in a religious run institution.’
— GLEN (@glenLGBT) December 2, 2015
Shee added: ‘To date Section 37.1 has served to create a chilling effect for many LGBT employees.
‘The existing provisions posed a threat of discrimination which has served to silence thousands of teachers in our schools.’
The passage of the bill ends a good year for LGBTI rights in Ireland. In May, Ireland became the first country to legalize gay marriage by referendum.