Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Bed and Breakfast, Bigotry and More!

According to my Collins dictionary, a business is defined as:-

a: the purchase and sale of goods and services
b: a commercial or industrial establishment

I think its plain and simple that anyone who provides "Bed and Breakfast" on a commercial basis comes under this definition. The Sexual Orientation Regulations 2007 make it unlawful for a person providing goods, facilities or services to members of the public to directly or indirectly discriminate (or victimise) on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision or non-provision of such goods, facilities or services, or the terms upon which they are offered. So anyone who runs a shop, hotel, bed and breakfast or any other service that is advertised to the public on a commercial basis will be breaking the law if they deny services solely on the grounds of sexual orientation.

So, when you run a Bed and Breakfast establishment, you are running a business - same as running a shop, garage, etc. Your home becomes your business - you cannot have the benefits of running a business without realising you have a responsibility to the law - if you have a problem with the law, then you should question whether or not running a business is for you.

The current shadow Home Secretary, Chris Grayling obviously feels that its OK to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation - his recent gaffe testifies to this. It should come as no surprise that his comments were not pounced upon by his leader, David Cameron. As I write, I think there has been a stony silence from the Conservative Party Leader.

I'm sure if Mr. Grayling had said that its was OK to deny services to Black People, Jewish People, Disabled People, Women his leader would have dealt with him appropriately. However, as its a "gay" issue, it ranks low in the pecking order of equality - I have just one (polite) message - deal with these issues appropriately and effectively and start building the confidence of gay and lesbian people!

However, this does raise a more serious issue of people's attitudes in a society which is perceived to be inclusive. Even in the Third Sector (which outwardly promotes itself as a model of excellence in promoting equality and diversity), I've heard comments similar to those made my Mr. Grayling and I have dealt with them appropriately. Its only by challenging these views that we can move forward and make our society the inclusive society that it claims to be. People in authority have a particular duty to set an example and uphold the principles of equality and diversity. I will be relentless in challenging discrimination, no matter how subtle or covert it may be!

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