You may or may not have read the story or heard about the gay couple turned away from a B&B. If you haven’t – it’s here.
Susanne Wilkinson, owner of the Swiss B&B, Terry’s Lane, in Cookham, turned away Michael Black and John Morgan because it was “against her convictions” to have two men share the same bed.
In their defence Mr Wilkinson said “We are Christians and we believe our rights don’t have to be subordinated.”
And who, exactly, is interfering with your “rights”? Let’s pause a moment to reflect on the phrase “God given right”. I venture to suggest that there is no such thing. Rights are given and guaranteed only by law – man’s law, not god’s.
The closest you will get to defining Mr W’s point is Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Rome 1950) which says “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”
But it goes on “Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
So – you come to the crunch. Mr & Mrs Wilkinson’s right to “practice” their religious convictions versus Michael Black and John Morgan’s right not to face discrimination. Since the Equality Act 2006 is primary legislation, and must in any event be compatible with the Convention, I think Mr & Mrs W are on rather shaky legal ground.
My line of work requires that I deal with people fairly and in accordance with the law. I have no religion, so it’s against my convictions to go to church (or synagogue, or temple, or mosque, etc., etc.), but that doesn’t mean I have the right to discriminate against those who do. Why? Because it’s against the bloody law. And if I did I would, quite rightly, be thrown out without the pension.
Mr Wilkinson went on “We have religious freedom and we are not judging that but we are not prepared to have that sort of activity under our roof.”
Err, what “activity” would that be, then? Sleeping????
Or is this Basil Fawlty manqué adding insult to injury by suggesting that the dear old homies were definitely going to do the dirty? Quelle crapparoony.
BTW – I wonder if they’re open on Sundays:-
“Work six days only, but the seventh day must be a day of total rest. I repeat: Because the LORD considers it a holy day, anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death.’ (Exodus 31: 15)