Law, religion and gender

Authored by: Ayelet Shachar

Routledge Handbook of Law and Religion

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415836425
eBook ISBN: 9780203694268
Adobe ISBN: 9781135045555


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Some of the most complex legal challenges today involve multiple and often conflicting claims. Consider the following examples: gender equality vs. religious diversity; sexual orientation vs. freedom of association; face covering by a key witness in a criminal trial vs. the right of the accused to a fair trial (the latter usually involves seeing the facial demeanor of a witness, not just her eyes, as would be the case with the niqab). Other clashes involve employment anti-discrimination laws vs. the degree of institutional autonomy that is to be given to a church or a ministry (the US Supreme Court Hosanna-Tabor (2011) decision focusing on the “ministerial exemption” raises this very issue). To complicate matters further, in some cases the very same plaintiff, say a religiously observant woman, may in fact make a claim that is grounded in both principles of religious freedom and gender equality.

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