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Surprise Appointment

Evangelical leader named to U.K commission upholding equal rights.

The appointment of Joel Edwards, general director of the U.K.'s Evangelical Alliance, as a commissioner to the nation's Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has drawn complaints from gay activists.

Formed to enforce legislation guaranteeing age, ethnic, disability, gender, and sexual preference equality, the EHRC brings together the U.K.'s three previous equality commissions. The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, which went into effect on January 1, added prohibitions against treating anyone "less favorably than he treats or would treat others" on the grounds of sexual orientation. However, concessions within the act allow religious organizations to define standards of sexual behavior for their members and leaders.

Jay Herrick of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association was dismayed by the appointment of a conservative Christian to the EHRC. "Joel Edwards leads one of the most homophobic organizations in Britain," Herrick said. "The Evangelical Alliance is an umbrella ...

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