The above image is of Michael Foster, DL, MP.
Back in September, we were in correspondence with our constituency MP, Fabian Hamilton (Labour: Leeds, North East) who was in subsequent correspondence with Harriet Harman (Equalities Minister) about the issue of single sex organisations. Harman’s subordinate, Michael Foster replied to Mr. Hamilton who subsequently sent us the letter he received. The text of which is reprinted below. Please note the text that we have emphasized in bold and are comments below the letter.
[Letter starts] “Thank you for your letter of 11th September to Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP on behalf of your constituent Mr Rogers concerning the Equality Bill. I am replying as the Minister responsible. Mr Rogers is concerned about clubs for young people, such as Brownies and Guides who wish to remain single sex.
As a general rule once the Equality Bill, currently being considered by Parliament, becomes law it will not be possible for private clubs to discriminate against, either their members, or guests on the grounds of their sex. So, for example, a golf club will no longer be able to restrict the times in which women can play on a golf course or a bowls club will no longer be able to charge different rates to men and women.
However we are going to make an exception to allow single-sex clubs to continue. This is because we recognise that it is important for groups of people to have their own space in which they can come together and freely associate.
Whether a club, such as the Scouts or the Brownies, decides to admit members of both sexes or only to admit members of one sex is ultimately a decision for them. If however, they decided to admit members of both sexes they must treat them equally.
As the Scouts Association and the Guides Association are separate organisations it is legitimate for them to have different membership rules.
I hope this information is helpful to your constituent.
Michael Foster DL MP [Letter ends]
Comment: The paragraph: “However we are going to make an exception to allow single-sex clubs to continue. This is because we recognise that it is important for groups of people to have their own space in which they can come together and freely associate.” Is clearly a very great hostage to fortune as it begs the obvious question that if it is O.K. for males and females to freely associate in a male only/female only environment, why should it not be O.K. for Christians or Muslims to freely associate in a in a Christian only/Muslim only environment, or Anglo-Saxon or Caribbean people to freely associate in a Anglo-Saxon/ Caribbean only environment, or Heterosexual or Homosexual people to freely associate in a Heterosexual/Homosexual only environment ?
Clearly the doctrine appears to be that All animals are Equal, but some animals are More Equal than others.