Just this week, Equality Secretary Liz Truss said she wanted the government to end a Stonewall diversity program amid a row over trans rights.
Miss Truss would urge departments to join the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Acas in dropping the Diversity Champions scheme over fears it will not offer value for money.
Following criticism from gay former Conservative MP Matthew Parris, Ms Kelley told the BBC: ‘With all beliefs, including controversial beliefs, there is a right to express those beliefs publicly and wherever they are harmful or harmful – whether are anti-Semitic beliefs, critical beliefs, beliefs about disability – we have legal systems set up for people who are harmed by it.”
According to Stonewall, there are more than 850 organisations, including 250 government agencies and public bodies such as police forces, local councils and NHS trusts, that have registered as ‘diversity champions’.
Membership to the scheme starts at around £2,500, which, according to the LGBT charity’s website, gives employers access to expert advice and resources to help make their workplace ‘inclusive’.
However, the charity was embroiled in another feud over transgender rights last week when its director Nancy Kelley compared “gender-critical” beliefs to anti-Semitism as she championed its pro-trans campaign.
The EHRC, Britain’s equal treatment watchdog, then cut ties with a Stonewall plan for ‘awake’ workplaces after it claimed it would curtail freedom of expression among staff.
The decision comes amid allegations that the scheme encourages government agencies and companies to adopt policies that create a “culture of fear” among employees who disagree with transgender ideology.
A letter to the feminist campaign group Sex Matters from new committee chair Baroness Falkner revealed: “We wrote to Stonewall in March to let them know we would not be renewing our membership, and this has now expired.”
Before that, a former top judge claimed that transgender groups like Stonewall have too much say in hate crime laws that could “suffer” freedom of expression.
Charles Wide, a retired Old Bailey judge, said last month that only a “limited number” of views were being sought to advise on a possible extension of the legislation.
The government is currently looking at expanding hate crimes, and the Law Commission is discussing whether misogyny, age, sex workers, homelessness and some subcultures should become protected groups.
But the judge fears that its over-reliance on certain campaign groups has led the Commission to abandon its non-political mandate to use “controversial and controversial sociological theories.”
He wrote for the Policy Exchange think tank: “The difficulty of getting beyond a limited number of academics and organizations to the full range of academic voices, organizations, commentators and members of the public who have no organization to to speak for them.’
He called LGBT activists Stonewall and said the Commission treated them more as “advisors than advisors”.