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The Tory Party’s Little Homophobia Problem

Perhaps this was why David Cameron, leader of Britain’s Conservative Party, was so intent on keeping offline his fumbling over the Tories’ suspected homophobia: Because there’s some deep-seated homophobia in the Conservative Party. Chris Grayling (pictured), a leading Tory party member as the shadow home secretary, finds his remarks about how those Christian owners of the bed and breakfast should be allowed to discriminate against gay customers.

The comments, made by Grayling last week to a leading centre-right thinktank, drew an angry response from gay groups and other parties, which said they were evidence that senior figures in David Cameron’s party still tolerate prejudice. In a recording of the meeting of the Centre for Policy Studies, obtained by the Observer, Grayling makes clear he has always believed that those who run B&Bs should be free to turn away guests. “I think we need to allow people to have their own consciences,” he said. “I personally always took the view that, if you look at the case of should a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude a gay couple from a hotel, I took the view that if it’s a question of somebody who’s doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn’t come into their own home.”

He draws a distinction, however, with hotels, which he says should admit gay couples. “If they are running a hotel on the high street, I really don’t think that it is right in this day and age that a gay couple should walk into a hotel and be turned away because they are a gay couple, and I think that is where the dividing line comes.”

For what it’s worth, Grayling voted in favor of 2007′s Equality Act, which prohibits exactly this sort of business dealing.

So does one lawmaker’s tolerance of anti-gay business brand an entire party as homophobic? That’s the wrong question — since the entire party is already suffering from that reputation.

[photo via]

By:           editor editor
On:           Apr 4, 2010
Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

  • 11 Comments
    • Paul Stanton
      Paul Stanton

      As usual, a few militant “we speak for all gay people!” activists are making a mountain out of nothing, and giving the rest of us a bad name. This B&B is run by deeply religious people (whether you think they are narrow minded bigots or not, it’s their views and their house). So what if we can’t stay there? For goodness sakes….. There are thousands of other B&Bs in this country which will take our pink pounds!

      Apr 4, 2010 at 5:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PaulMc
      PaulMc

      @Paul Stanton: Who do you speak for? Not me. If someone of their own free will decides to provide a service in their own home, open to the public then gay people should not be discriminated against. That is the law here. Beliefs don’t come in to it. Or do you want signs in windows stating “No gays” as they used to with the Irish and Blacks?

      Apr 4, 2010 at 6:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Darren
      Darren

      While I respect peoples rights to think and feel what they want, we should remember that a B&B is still a business and under UK law a business can not descriminate on the basis of sexuality, no matter what the regligous views of its owners. These people really didnt think their actions through, as a result of this they will most likley lose accreditations, face a civil discrimination court case, as well as a local and national backlash.

      With regards to the conservative party, gays and lesbians are here to stay, its about time the party grew up, but its also a failing of David Cameron, if he wants to court the gay vote then he needs to make it clear that these views are no longer acceptable and will not be tollerated.

      While I understand the comments made by Chris Grayling were made in private, he is a public figure and as such should be held to a higher standard.

      Personally I will not be voting conservative, and the majority of my other gay friends wont be either, this example is just another in a long line of miss steps by the tories. Its not the 1980s anymore, they should get with the times and keep in mind that its not just the gay vote that they are losing its the votes of our friends, our families and the votes of open minded people across the country.

      Apr 4, 2010 at 6:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dennis
      Dennis

      @Paul Stanton:
      FYI, without ‘militant activists’ we have made NO progress in securing equal protections IN ANY FORM for LGBT people.

      Now, if a few ‘phobes want to close there doors to us, fine, let them try…but you can back off if you think we have no right to call them out on their discrimination and bigotry…because we have every right to.

      Without gay activism, your ‘pink pounds’ wouldn’t be welcome in lots of places…so try showing some respect for those who’ve fought for your rights, even though you seem content to throw those rights away.

      Apr 4, 2010 at 6:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Darren
      Darren

      For Dennis…
      Well said….rights are earned… everyday.

      Apr 4, 2010 at 6:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Nick
      Nick

      As Ben Summerskill has said, nobody forced that couple to turn their house into a commercial business. And that’s exactly what it is: a business. Their income from it is taxed, and therefore recognised by government as a business. Thus it must abide by the law set down upon all businesses.
      I watched some of a programme tonight on the BBC called “Are Christians being persecuted?” I ended up turning it off half way through as it made me so angry. What nonsense I thought! Of course they bloody aren’t. They want the right to discriminate and they’re not getting it. And so they bloody shouldn’t (and actually, in many cases, they do get it!).
      With situations like this added to the diabolical mess of the Catholic Church, it’s no wonder Christianity is struggling in the UK. And the quicker it gets tossed into the backwaters of history the better.

      Apr 4, 2010 at 7:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 3 ยท Darren wrote, “While I respect peoples rights to think and feel what they want, we should remember that a B&B is still a business and under UK law a business can not descriminate on the basis of sexuality, no matter what the regligous views of its owners. These people really didnt think their actions through, as a result of this they will most likley lose accreditations, face a civil discrimination court case, as well as a local and national backlash.”

      … it would be the same in California due to the “Unruh Civil Rights Act”, which bans discrimination for “public accommodations”, a term which includes restaurants, hotels, B&Bs, retail stores, etc. That law was written decades ago, first covering racial discrimination, but over the years it was broadened to include discrimination on the basis of gender and finally sexual orientation.

      If it is any consolation, our bigots whine about it at least as much as yours do: “They won’t let me oppress someone, so I’m being oppressed [lunacy about black U.N. helicopters deleted].”

      Apr 4, 2010 at 9:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Stanton
      Paul Stanton

      @Dennis: Does it not occur to you that these activists I should supposedly be thankful for are making things worse not better? Yes, let’s pretend there is no homophobia, just because there are laws against discrimination on sexuality… now truly hateful people are too afraid to profess any views against gays, and it’s difficult to sort the gay hate from just hate. Well done Stonewall, Peter Tatchell, et al. But it’s okay, because I now supposedly have “rights”. Oh yeah, and “No blacks” and “No Irish”… well this is clearly not the same, that is to do with race. Where is the so called “No poofs” rule? She just doesn’t want 2 people of the same sex in the same bed – that’s a bit different from saying no gays allowed! This B&B owner is obviously not hateful, it’s her house, her religion, and her family. She has as much right to say “no” as I do if someone wanted to eat a ham sandwich in my house (I’m vegetarian). Sad that being gay is now equated with being anti-religious, and sending death threats. Who would want to be a friend of a gay person?

      Apr 5, 2010 at 3:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tim W
      Tim W

      @Paul Stanton: You obviously still do not get it. Yes you can not allow someone to eat a ham sandwich in your house if you are a vegetarian. But if you open your house as a guest house and take people’s money to stay there then you must follow the laws of the land in reference to that business. And are you really that self loathing to see that not allowing people to discriminate because you are a gay is the same as being discriminates because of your race or ethnicity.

      Apr 5, 2010 at 8:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kieran
      Kieran

      Let’s just suppose this ugly asshole who wants to be England’s next Conservative home secretary had said this:

      “I think we need to allow people to have their own consciences. I personally always took the view that, if you look at the case of should a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude Jews from a hotel, I took the view that if it’s a question of somebody who’s doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn’t come into their own home.”

      Chris Grayling would no doubt be sitting in prison right now under British Hate Crimes Laws for even suggesting that it is acceptable to discriminate against Jews in ANY way. It’s telling that it is still acceptable in England to opine that it IS okay to discriminate against Gays—-under certain circumstances.

      Apr 5, 2010 at 9:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bussy
      Bussy

      F
      B

      Apr 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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