The Gay and Lesbian Humanism Association (GALHA) strongly supports the Court Ruling earlier this week against Christian guest house owners who refused to offer accommodation to a gay couple in a Civil Partnership of the same type they would to a married heterosexual couple.
The ruling confirms that anyone offering goods and services to the general public is no longer permitted to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation. By implication, it would also be illegal to refuse to provide a service to someone purely because of their religion.
GALHA Chair Adam Knowles commented:
“This is an important ruling, protecting the rights of gay and straight, religious and non religious alike.
“In a free society it is vital that people are entitled to express their opinions on homosexuality, or on people’s religious beliefs, even if some people may find these opinions offensive. What you are not entitled to do is to refuse to provide a service to people just because they are gay, or because you don’t approve of their religion or philosophical beliefs.
“The ruling also confirms the common sense principle that while we have the broad right to choose who we allow into our homes, we no longer have the same absolute right once we are using our home to offer a service to the general public.
“We also welcome the ruling’s recognition that Civil Partnerships carry the same rights and responsibilities as marriage. The next step should be the legalisation of marriage itself for same sex couples, and of Civil Partnerships for straight couples.