Gay Rights, Faith and the Law
10th January 2007
As many of you will have noticed, attempts to block the Sexual Orientation Regulations in the House of Lords have failed.
A number of faith groups had objected to the regulations. The rules mean that people who offer paid services to the public cannot refuse people, or discriminate against them, on the grounds of their sexuality.
To quote the BBC report on this:
Critics say the new rules mean hotels cannot refuse to provide rooms for gay couples, and religious groups would be obliged to rent out halls for “gay wedding” receptions.
Is this – as some have reported – about gay rights vs ‘Christian’ rights? Clearly not all Christians feel this way – but the quote below shows how some feel…
Christian Voice – a pressure group – claims in its press release that:
‘The Government and their ‘gay rights’ friends have no right to impose their morality, or lack of it, on the 99% of the population who are not that way inclined. Christians, members of other faiths and indeed of none cannot be forced to act against their conscience by providing services to those whose activities they find perverted, disgusting or simply against the clear, unequivocal word of God.”
Gay Rights Campaigner Peter Tatchell said of faith campaigns against the regulations:
“The Christian fundamentalists who want these exemptions are demanding the right to discriminate against gay people, but they are not campaigning for the right to discriminate against adulterers, unwed mothers, thieves, murderers or rapists. They have a highly selective and overtly homophobic interpretation of Biblical morality.”
Should people be ‘forced’ to offer services to all – or have the right to decline in the manner some seem to wish to?
Is this about rights at all?