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Monday, 5 April 2010

Time to upset a few people

Am I alone in being a bit perplexed not only by Chris Graylings comments about owners of bed and breakfast establishments being able to ban gay couples, but also the reaction to it. If I book a room to stay somewhere, I don't really expect to have to fill out a questionairre about my sex life. It is not unknown for me to go off to watch football in far flung places, sometimes with mates. As these trips invariably involve large amounts of alcohol and maybe a curry afterwards, the requirement is for a cheap room to crash out in and a large greasy breakfast. It is not unusual on football tours for guys to room together (albiet in single beds). Why on earth does Mr Grayling think B&B owners should have a right to pry? If people are such committed Christians, should they also have the right to ban people who are unmarried, people who are committing adultery or even people who eat shellfish. All of these are also banned according to the bible. Christians cannot claim that they have a right to discriminate, because Jesus never said "Though shalt not rent a room in your B&B to a gay couple".

Having said all of that, I don't think his comments warrant the storm they have unleashed. If I was in a gay relationship, I would probably rather not give my business to someone who only allows me in the house because they are forced to by law. In some ways, if owners were allowed to discriminate, it would give people an option to give establishments a wide berth. If it was made crystal clear that the establishment wasn't gay friendly at time of booking to everyone, it would clearly put off far more people than just gay couples. I would say that a scenario where people have booked a room and then are turned away is a different matter as this causes hassle and stress.

On a side note, what I have never understood about the discrimination argument is why it is allowed the other way round. It doesn't really bother me that Gay hostels exist but having read the comments of the Stonewall spokesman about equality and unfairness in the press, how come he thinks these are OK? I tend to think that there should be one law for all.

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