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"The Law of the Land seems perfectly at ease with Muslim religious teachings and practice on marriage"

ToMTom, indeed the Law of the Land does seem perfectly at ease with Muslim religious teachings and practice on marriage... right up to the point where Sharia law calls for adulterers and homosexuals to be put to death by stoning. Sharia law isn't just about "crimes", it's about punishments too.

We're trying to reach out to Muslims.

Therefore we need to declare our total opposition to this appalling socialist decree which is extremely offensive to those of the Muslim faith.

In NI all Christian denominations together with Muslims and Jews have teamed up to oppose this evil action by the socialist government. They deserve our full support.

Just to throw this in the air

As a Catholic I could say that I 'conscientiously' object to evangelical Protestants believing them to be heretics who are all hellbound and contaminate the world with dangerous practices. Therfore should I open a hotel I want to have the right to deny them a room. Infact I want to put that fact in my advert.

Of course I don't believe this way, but if I did, do those who oppose the bill support my right to have the law changed to reflect my deeply held religious beliefs?

Intentionally or not, wicks @ 17:37 has put his finger on it:

"... all discrimination is equally bad. Ergo, I don't see what the debate is about."

Once you accept that there's no "unfair" discrimination or "fair" discrimination, because all discrimination is equally bad, there's nothing left to talk about.

Person/Group A being treated differently from Person/Group B in some way?

That's discrimination, by definition it can't be right, and it should be banned.

If you want to run an all-Catholic hotel and refuse Protestants I have no objection to that at all. Why should I?

If you placed offensive and provocation anti-Protestant statements in a newspaper that would be a different matter altogether.

I assume you are not, in fact, claiming to be a devout Catholic as I seem to recall you said you were a homosexual.

Mark, I am both Catholic and homosexual. Do I agree 100% with church teaching on sexual matters? No. Neither do most- indeed there is no differentiation in the Church's view of the 'severity' of a homosexual act and...how can I put this 'self pleasure' As such both myself and a someone who pleasures himself are commiting similar sinful acts. Or are you shocked to find someone who is both gay and religious or hold the belief that I can't be religious as I'm gay?

I'm sure, Afleich, there certain religions to which you can consistently adhere as an open homosexual, but Roman Catholicism is not one of them.

We are all sinners of course, and as Christians we aspire to love the sinner while hating the sin.

Your problem is that you are (apparently) not prepared to condemn your own sin.

Your Church's teachings on the matter are absolutely plain, and you are in breach of them.

Thanks for the quote from 'President Bartlet' re his daughter and Leo McGarry.

Now can someone find something relevant from 'Yes Prime Minister'?

Some interesting arguments here, but I'd like to step back and ask a couple of "prior questions".

The first is whether there is a practical need for a law on this matter? Is the number of gays being turned away from Christian-run B&Bs so large that legislation is necessary? If, as I suspect, the number of incidents is minimal and the harm done is no greater than ruffled feathers,then it seems to me that no statute is needed. We are all liable to be offended by others from time to time and in a sensible world we learn to live with it. It is impossible for law to protect every one from any occasion of hurt or offended feelings.In fact if the law tries to do so it would turn us into infantiles.

The second question is why does the law (if needed) have to introduce yet another raft of criminal offences? Why not create a right to civil redress?

Listening to the proponents on the radio today, they were trotting out the same tired argument that "it merely extend to gays the protection that others enjoy". That begs the question whether the previous legislation was needed: "me too" is not a very persuasive argument. Secondly, note the use of the word "protection", as if we were talking about people being threatened. Anyone subjected to to threats is already protected by existing law.

Finally can I make a point about the relationship between sexual orientation and sexual practice. It may be true that the former is unchangeable, but the latter can be controlled in terms of time and place. In fact that is a requirement of a civilised society. If I was having adulterous affair I wouldn't flaunt it in the B&B run by a Scottish Presbyterian, I'd modify my behaviour out of respect for my host's feelings. I'm sure gays can find a similar compromise with goodwill on both sides.

Martin how do you know if I am in breach of Church rules? - theres nothing against homosexuals or being homosexualin Church teaching, justhomosexual acts.

All of which shows the good sense of not having political policies on social issues.

As a Party, the Conservatives should have a policy of puttting all these issues out to a referendum and simply agree to enact the result. That is what democracy means.
In this day and age there is no reason why issues of morality should be left to MPs, perhaps especially these MPs!
All the special interest groups would vote for us to get their interest on the ballot paper. With the media the way it is Liberal morality has had a free run since 1965. If we appeal to the Nation over the heads of the media we may get a different answer. Even if we dont at least we will know that the law is the result of a popular will and not the enacted prejudices of a metropolitan elite.

Now normally I am on the Tory side of the Party (rather than the Libertarian) but Lord MacKay is from a sect of Scotch Presbyterians so extreme, they excommunicated him when he was Lord Chancellor for going to a Catholic's memorial service. They couldn't even be happy a Papist was dead! So I would want to suggest that this issue should be decided by the majority of Britons, somewhere nearer the moral average in a referendum.

One of the few legitimate functions of a government is to protect its citizens and facilitate their ability to go through life freely. In some (unfortunate-humans after all aren't perfect) cases, this necessity will require action by the government to allow this to happen.

For those who find this hard to grasp, a good analogy is competition law; such law exists to ensure that competition in markets is not restricted in ways that may otherwise occur absent government action.

Afleitch- I think you question should be addressed to Mark not me (Martin).

As a Catholic myself I know that the ultimate decision has to be made according to your own conscience. The snag is that the Church expects us to inform our conscience by its teaching, which is the acquired wisdom of 2000 years, plus the inherited wisdom of the Jews, with a bit of ancient Greek philosophy thrown in.

Ultimately only the particular individual and God know what is right and wrong in the circumstances of an individulal's life.

They couldn't even be happy a Papist was dead
In Reformed Evangelicalism the Pope is held to be the Anti-Christ (technically all the Presbyterian denominations adhering to the Westminster Confession of Faith hold to this position) and the Roman Catholic Church of the devil, the Requim Mass is held to be a Satannic Ritual and if you go back the Reformed Church of Scotland held this position and the Methodists and Baptists and further back the Church of England as well in the Book of Common Prayer.

One of the few legitimate functions of a government is to protect its citizens and facilitate their ability to go through life freely. In some (unfortunate-humans after all aren't perfect) cases, this necessity will require action by the government to allow this to happen.

So why has this legislation never previously been considered necessary?

The government's function is to protect its citizens against crime and injury, not to enforce Political Correctness upon those of us who don't believe in it.

it's true that there was a sprinkling of black people in this country long before the Empire Windrush docked
As I understand it there is documentation of Moorish Pirates and Slavers conducting raids on the British Isles before Roman times and in fact bery few actual Romans were ever in Britain, the Roman Army actually was more like the French Foreign Legion and had a lot of Africans, then of course there were the Beaker Folk, Saxons, Angels, Jutes, Gaels, Danes, Norsemen, Highland Travellers, Romani, Jews, Hugenot, stranded sailors especially French, Spanish and Portuguese (and maybe some Indians) from the Armada and Battle of Trafalgar, people from the Caribbean and West Africa settling in the 18th and 19th centuries, now and again in more recent centuries ships crew from India were left stranded in the UK with regards of a sizeable group of Bengali men in Norfolk - 19 if I recall correctly, back in the 18th century.

Oh yes and of course Normans and other French - I have some Romani ancestry and further back Highland Traveller, Norman, Frankish and other French ancestry and what appears to be ethnic Welsh ancestry as well as the more common English and Scottish.

Didn't Queen Elizabeth demand the expulsion of all "blackamoores" from England?

Possibly she would be running the BNP if she were around today.

"So why has this legislation never previously been considered necessary?"

Perhaps because we weren't enlightened enough to consider it. We evolve. We learn.

"The government's function is to protect its citizens against crime and injury, not to enforce Political Correctness upon those of us who don't believe in it."

And to ensure people are free to go through life in a way that we are all accustomed to. Sometimes, the venality of human nature prevents people from doing so, and thus action is needed.

Would you argue against cartel legislation as is restricts the freedom of business to make whatever decisions they see fit?

No David, you and your friends in the Labour Government want it, no doubt for your own reasons. "We" don't want it.

How religious objections to this law can be described as "the venality of human nature" I can't imagine.

A "Venal" hotelier is hardly likely to turn anybody away from his establishment.

No David, you and your friends in the Labour Government want it, no doubt for your own reasons. "We" don't want it.

How religious objections to this law can be described as "the venality of human nature" I can't imagine.

A "venal" hotelier is hardly likely to turn anybody away from his establishment.

Martin - my apologies

"no doubt for your own reasons. "We" don't want it."

What would these reasons be, and just who are "we"? Interesting you think I'm Labour.

"A "Venal" hotelier is hardly likely to turn anybody away from his establishment"

Ah yes; there were never any such establishments which turned away blacks, were there.....

I said that you were lining up with this ghastly government. I haven't a clue which party you belong to.

You are clearly unaware of the meaning of "venal", which means corrupt and mercenary. It is clearly inapplicable to the situation you are describing.

One can deplore racism but still support individual freedom. All these anti-discrimination laws were brought in by Labour in the teeth of Tory opposition.

But perhaps you didn't know that either.

"One can deplore racism but still support individual freedom"

Indeed. But the freedom to be bigoted can impede the freedom of others. It is right that the government prevent this.

"All these anti-discrimination laws were brought in by Labour in the teeth of Tory opposition."

And?

"You are clearly unaware of the meaning of "venal","

Clearly. Mea culpa.

>>Indeed. But the freedom to be bigoted can impede the freedom of others. It is right that the government prevent this.<<

"Freedom" has never included the right to demand goods and services from others on your own terms, and there is no reason why it should now.

Your reference to religious sensibilities as "bigoted" says much about you.

If a few bruised egos are the price of liberty, then it is a price well worth paying.

DavidDPB @ 20:38 - "Would you argue against cartel legislation as is restricts the freedom of business to make whatever decisions they see fit?"

I don't see any valid comparison there. The purpose of legislating against cartels is to ensure that there's free competition and a variety of offerings in the market place, while this legislation would tend to impose uniformity in the market place.

If the Catholic owner of a B&B felt that he'd rather have empty rooms than have evangelical Protestants as guests, then as a rule I'd say so be it. I might admit some exceptions, for example if this was the only accommodation available in a remote and potentially hazardous location and benighted travellers would have no safe alternative, but these would be rare exceptions to the general rule that the owner could control admission into his own B&B without the state interfering.

Locally we had a brief furore because the manager of a bar started turning people away partly on the basis of the postcodes on their IDs, with all the usual fatuous accusations that he was "discriminating". And so he was: he was discriminating between people who he thought were unlikely to cause trouble, and people who on past experience he thought were likely to cause trouble. Even if his selection technique was imperfect, he had a perfect right to do that in my view.


In response to your hypothetical question, Afleitch, I'd say that yes indeed, a Catholic hotel owner ought to have the right to turn away evangelical Protestants whose views he finds offensive.

David DPB, IMO, freedom includes the freedom to be biogted. Freedom only to be inoffensive is not freedom worth having.

To see men openly kissing on TV this evening I found very offensive. If they were in my house behind closed doors, it would still be offensive. And I do not have to be religious to find it so!
Were not the first men to be married divorced within a year? The country has gone barmy.
This legislation which has cost us millions should be torn up.
It used to be a handing offence in Nelson’s Navy. I would have agreed to this being reduced to a short course with a psychiatrist.

Oh dear... I find it completely depressing that this thread is so long!

Why can't you all get so excited about poverty and education and climate change, the issues which really matter! Why is it that such strong views opposing homosexuality STILL seem to permeate the 'modern' Conservative party?

If Conservatives can't move on beyond this issue and accept that gays should not be discriminated against in the provision of goods and services then the party deserves to find itself back on life-support as 'organised religion' (the patient in the next bed) continues to die a slow, painful death.

Gadalf I presume you are taking the mick. Besides one divorce out of what, 10,000 civil partnerships is pretty good going considering the divorce rate amongst heterosexual married couples! What is the world coming too...

This law is not just about discrimination against those of a homosexual orientation (which I am against). Lord Mackay believes “the regulations are intended to make it unlawful to refuse to facilitate homosexual acts, then it is obvious that those who practise a faith that considers homosexual activity to be sinful are being subjected to a law that seeks to over-ride their consciences.”

This is an attack on our historic freedoms of religion and to live according to conscience (from a Prime Minister who prides himself in wanting to spread freedom in the M East). And I think it has been said the harassment provisions mean homosexuals are the only group that it will be unlawful to say or cause them to see anything they disagree with (such as the presence of a Bible in a hospital or a book about traditional marriage in a bookshop). Such is the power of pressure groups, that a minority group can impose its' views on everyone else (and probably there are some who want this law who want to marginalise Christianity!) – whoever shouts the loudest…

But I guess it is not only religious adherents who are concerned, but many who are concerned for the preservation of freedom and liberal democracy. This is time to stand up for our freedoms, which are being eroded by political correctness. It’s time for leadership. And Mr Cameron seems silent.

Phil,

This particular law only applies to homosexuals because other minorities ALREADY have protection from discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity and indeed RELIGION in the provision of goods and services.

What's so galling about this debate is that 'Christians' are seeking to stop homosexuals enjoying the same protection which they themselves were granted in 1998 under the Human Rights Act!

I am an atheist father of two, and find it bizarre that a hotel can discriminate against families with children but not against homosexuals. I can see why some hotels or B&B's wish to exclude children and have no problem with that. I can equally see why some hotels and B&B's would wish to keep out homosexuals. The homosexual lobby seems intolerant of anyone who disapproves of "homosexual practices", whether on religious, moral or public health grounds.

Just received from the Press Association:

"A bid to block legislation prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in provision of goods and services in Northern Ireland failed. Democratic Unionist Lord Morrow's move to annul the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) was rejected by 199 to 68.

The law was strongly opposed by an alliance of church groups who warned it could harm the rights of religious hoteliers, bookshops, printers and adoption agencies to practise their belief. Similar legislation is due to take effect in the remainder of the UK from April.

Lord Morrow and Tory former Cabinet ministers Lord Mackay of Clashfern and Lord Tebbit were among peers who argued that the Northern Ireland legislation was being rushed through with inadequate consultation. But the legislation was defended by, among others, openly gay peers Labour former Cabinet minister Lord Smith of Finsbury and Lord Alli. The vote came as hundreds of people staged a torchlit protest outside Parliament against the new laws."

Oh dear... I find it completely depressing that this thread is so long!

You had hoped that the spark of freedom would have long since died.

No surprise there.

Defeated by Blair's packed, fixed 'reformed' Nulabour House of Lords in the face of opposition by Conservative peers.

All honour to them

As a believer in freedom I absolutely defend the right of homosexuals to do whatever it is they do in private.

As a believer in freedom I also defend the right of others to take a negative view of their activities and to "discriminate" in any way that has been hitherto legal and indeed continues to be legal - as has been pointed out - as regards families with children, unmarried couples etc.

It is plainly obvious that the homosexual lobby hs an unhealthy stranglehold upon Westminster. That the tentacles of this tendency extend even into our own "traditional values" orientated party is obvious from several posts on this thread.

I do not, of course, defend either physical attacks against homosexuals or incitement to violence, but that goes without saying because both were illegal anyway.

To legislate against hurt feelings must be the ultimate mark of a decadent society.

What a throughly depressing thread.

I own a dog. I'm frequently discriminated against by hotels when I and my family go to them. Why oh why oh why isn't there a law preventing discrimination against dog owners? Maybe a Quango too?

Oh, and what a thoroughly pointless contribution by Iain Dale.

Ian Dale

I'm not sure what your position is - from your Diary it appears that you are sitting on the fence.

Yes, I, too, find it depressing that Labour is once again trying to interfere in the minutiae of daily life. No one has produced any evidence that there is a pressing, practical, need for legislation in this field. If there were a significant number of genuine cases of hardship, I might be minded otherwise but even then I would suggest very limited legislation giving the right to civil redress, not yet more new thought crimes.

In the abscence of any significan public harm, this appears to be gesture politics. Harmless you might think, but it is symptomatic of an attitude that the state will not tolerate unorthodox opinions and beliefs and that every one must subscribe to the rainbow coalition

Why should Mr Dale find it depressing.

I have friends who are homosexuals. I also have friends who are or have been alcoholics, BNP supporters, Marxists and adulterers.

I like them personally. It doesn't mean I approve of what they do. I don't.

There have always been plenty of homosexuals in the Tory Party. Until now everybody has got along fine (most of the time) on the basis of "don't ask don't tell"

That's the way many of us like it and I see no reaon to pretend that I've changed my outlook to conform to Left-led notions of PC.

Mark McCartney: "As a believer in freedom I also defend the right of others to take a negative view of their activities and to "discriminate" in any way that has been hitherto legal and indeed continues to be legal - as has been pointed out - as regards families with children, unmarried couples etc."

It used to be legal to burn witches at the stake, shall we start building the pyres now?

Ian: "There have always been plenty of homosexuals in the Tory Party. Until now everybody has got along fine (most of the time) on the basis of "don't ask don't tell"

There used to be one more homosexual conservative in the party, me. I sent back my card over IDS's Section 28 fiasco and it's very clear from the state of this thread that that was a very wise decision! "Don't ask, don't tell." Oh deary deary me!

>>I sent back my card over IDS's Section 28 fiasco and it's very clear from the state of this thread that that was a very wise decision!<<

That's your democratic right Lee, and if that's the way you feel I'm sure you made the right decision.

Asyou have discovered, Labour and the LibDems "do" gay rights far better than most Tories, and at the other end of the spectrum - if one is to believe the rumours - there's a fantastic gay scene among the elite ranks of the BNP.

So you'll be spoiled for choice.

Turning to today's Telegraph I find an unutterably ludicrous letter on this subject from the appalling John Bercow.

Isn't it about time he crossed the floor?

Mark, one reason Bercow hasn't crossed the floor is that he has got his timing wrong, unlike the equally ghastly Sean Woodward. Labour in 2007 is not the force it was when Woodward defected in search of preferment and Labour MPs trying to defend marginals will not take kindly to yet another Tory carpetbagger. Nothing illustrates the decay of the Tory Party better than the fact that Bercow still "graces" the opposition benches. A competent organisation would have sacked him long ago. Instead he continues his weird odyssey from Monday Club headbanger to Cultural Marxist-cum-inverted-snob.

his weird odyssey from Monday Club headbanger to Cultural Marxist-cum-inverted-snob.

Bercow is most oddball.........doing a sort of reverse Mussolini........they have much in common though

Too true, TomTom.

Mussolini was once described as "ill-favoured" and having had the dubious pleasure of meeting Bercow on a couple of occasions I would have no hesitation in applying the same epithet to him.

If the Buckingham association had any cojones it would have deselected the little man years ago.

Bercow has certainly shown a great deal of disloyalty to the party. I gather that Cameron keeps him at arm's length now.

Given his move to the left, I was concerned that he remained a council member of The Freedom Association, to which I have belonged for years. I queried it last year with another Council member and he said he was surprised Bercow was still around.

I gather someone had a quiet word and Bercow has now removed himself from that excellent organisation.

"As a believer in freedom I absolutely defend the right of homosexuals to do whatever it is they do in private."

So why dont the relgious lobby do the same. But no they call me as a gay man an abomination on every radio station and tv programme that will have them, and the phrase that they refer to in the bible, correct me if I am wrong, says I should be put to death.

Remember people you may not be gay, but your children might , or your grand children might be. So be careful what you ask for , as it might just come back and crap on your own door step, and they could suffer in the future.

Also we will all be in a minority soon, and that is old age. Then you will know what it is like to be judged by what you are and not who your are. Then you might start to think more about equailty for all.

I hope this law goes through.

What a particularly unpleasant posting from "dave".

Nobody is calling for homosexuals to be put to death. Sadly there are one or two posters here who are suffering from hysterical paranoia.

I hopethat a future Conservative government will repeal this oppressive socialist legislation.


I agree it is unpleasent.Perhaps you should read the bible and the section that they refer to all the time it mentions death. As for nobody being asking for homosexuals to be put to death, perhaps youed like to put this point to the homophobe who took a hammer to my very good friend, who then proceeded to hit him on the head until it was caved in and he died because he was GAY. Words cause incitement and so do actions. I am currently having to have alterations carried out on my windows as I have suffered from graffiti and missiles being thrown at my house over a period of five years. But perhaps my friends murder and my own safety are just hystrical paranoia. I only hope you dont have to live your life like I have too, worried about my own safety from day to day. Most of the time these discussions have been about freedom of speech, I dont object to that, I do object to incitement.
I really wanted to vote consevative, as I thought they had changed under David Cameron. But I see by their voting record in the lords and by the comments on here, they have not changed. The reason this law is being put through is not really about guest house accomadation its about lesbians being refused smeer tests. It about GPS refusing to treat gay men. Check out the Stonewall website and the slience is not goldern web site and read what has happened to gay people . I hope you will be as shocked and upset as much as I am not perhaps as a conservative or a labour voter, but as a fellow human being.

"But no they call me as a gay man an abomination on every radio station and tv programme that will have them,"

I must have listened to hundreds of sermons over the years without hearing any mention of homosexuality.

I agree with the comments about John Bercow.

I know several homosexuals including a former Conservative councillor. I've never heard of any of them having their homes vandalised. Are you sure there's not some other reason why you are being targeted?

Anyway, this is complete nonsense. Laws have always existed to deal with the attacks on your home and murder of your friend. These new laws - which effectively impose penalties on law-abiding Christians -will not alter the position one jot.

Indeed. as a supporter of capital punishment I would be in favour of more severe penalties for the murderer.

I’d like to thank gay Conservatives for remaining Conservative despite the attitudes of some of their fellow party members. But Editor, isn’t it about time to put this thread out of its misery?

A christain who agrees with the death penalty. What happened to turn the other cheek? LOL
As for laws obtaining to specfic gay harrassment they are not in place yet , but would be with this new bill.

And for the record, I am only being targeted for being gay.Perhaps if you knew ALL the gay people in the UK, perhaps then your statement would not be so laughably stupid.

Like Graeme I was split between opposition and support but the more I read this thread the less I am opposed. It's not about asking for special treatment from gay men or women but asking for equivalent treatment - the special pleading is from those who want to discriminate lawfully.

There is the defense of "private property" - I would think many who defend a B&Bs right to refuse gays would support laws that constrained the same people from unfettered development on their property, would be on the streets complaing if they decided to turn their B&B into a refuge for newly released criminals (a very Christian act) or for recovering drug addicts. Having started from a belief we should try to be tolerant I find I'm coming to the firm belief that any property that its owners advertise for public use - whether a hotel, sauna, B&B, school, restaurant or pub has no right to refuse entry on the basis of race, creed or sexuality. It can do so on basis of the individuals offensive or criminal behaviour (drunkeness, drugs, nudity etc.) but not a blanket ban on one segment of society because the owners don't like them. They should get another job/start a different business.

I draw the line at religious organisations and oppose any law that directly enforced equal access rights on those - that goes against privacy and freedom of thought/religion.

Sorry re comment on death penalty, serves me right from going from one site to another.I was one the one being stupid there.

I dont know any one who has been raped, so does this mean it does not exsist or happen?

As for Teds comments, they are the best on here so far.

Im off now had my say, for the record I do think that the conservatives will win the next election.

The main problem is that this law will discriminate against religious organisations. That's what most of the fuss is about.

I do not think that the right of a landlord to refuse accomodation to homosexuals (or unmarried couples etc) on personal moral grounds can in any way be compared to a "right" to ruin local amenity by erecting any monstrosity whatsoever, or accomodating a bunch of junkies. That comparison is simply absurd.

For the record, as a landlord and an owner of holiday accomodation I have been happy to let on numerous occasions to (apparently) homosexual couples. As it happens, they have all been exemplary guests and tenants.

But that's my choice.

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