09 January 2007

Equal rights for all

Today the Lords are sitting to discuss the law on banning goods and services to gay people. Currently this legislation is in force in Northern Ireland, and the government wish to enforce this law over England and Wales, too.

The basis of the law is it will make it an offence to deny people access to goods or services because of their sexual preference. So, for example, a hotel could not refuse to rent a room to a gay couple, a church could not refuse to rent out the church hall to a gay organisation, ec, etc.

Religious groups are against the law. They claim that it will force people of faith to condone acts which they believe to be improper. A printer may have to accept an order to print leaflets advertising a Gay Pride march. His belief tells him advertising such an event is wrong. But by law he would have to accept the job.

All discrimination is wrong. But people do discriminate. Just because it is wrong doesn't stop discrimination. But it is also wrong to force people by law to take an action in which they believe is immoral for them. If a Christian has a B&B and a gay couple wish to rent a room, is it wrong for him to deny them, based on his beliefs? Where would the discrimination be? Against the B&B owner being forced to accept something he sees as wrong? Or against the couple who wish to rent the room? As it stands, each party is being forced to accept some form of dicrimination against their particular lifestyle and beliefs.

Ultimately you can't legislate for every eventuality. There will always be those who feel they have been wronged against in one way or another. The government needs to realise that it cannot enforce action onto every sub minority section within the population to appease all people. It won't work. It cannot work.

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