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Christians refuse to allow gays and unmarried couples...

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Christians refuse to allow gays and unmarried couples...

Postby Kay » Tue 25 Jan 2011 19:38 GMT

... to share a double room in their B&B.

Article is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12275094

Some of the comments are interesting too.

Personally I think you should be allowed to choose what you do or don't allow in your own home - carnivores, smokers, or children, for example.

But if you are offering a service to the general public, then you can't put up a sign banning gays, any more than you can ban Christians, blacks or anyone else.

I think if they can't cope with ordinary members of the general public then they should rethink how they earn their living. Whatever next? Restaurants with no whites, no atheists, or what?

We often stay in a gay-run place in Bangkok. The owners are pretty much like family now. There's no law against it, but I sure as hell would take a dim view if they suddenly decided to ban people for not being gay.

The freaky Christian couple mentioned in the BBC article should seriously reconsider their business plans.
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Postby ruggie » Fri 28 Jan 2011 21:12 GMT

I'm not so sure. I've just recently given my opinion on this and a couple of related subjects in my DontStopTheWorld blog, but I'll highlight my main argument here:

- people form groups to share a common interest or viewppoint.

- as long as the aims of a group are not a threat to the stability of society, they should be allowed to exist within that society. Only totalitarian states are stupid enough to believe that you can create a society where all people are members of the same group and only that group.

- a business enterprise should be allowed to target any subset of the population within which it operates

It appears that the gay couple who booked a double-bedded room were not operating a deliberate sting (as at least one commentator assumed), so my view is that the B&B owners were just naive in not stating their policy (which was stated in their printed brochure, I believe) when accepting a telephone booking.

It didn't occur to them that in today's world more than half of mixed sex couples are unmarried, let alone gays (and these gays had a civil contract).

I believe they should have the right to restrict trade to whatever group they choose, but in today's world they must ensure that they make this clear at the time they take a booking.
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Postby Kay » Sun 30 Jan 2011 14:23 GMT

Is that not akin to putting up a sign saying "No Dogs, No Chinese"?

I don't think they should be allowed to do it. Either your business caters to the general public or it doesn't. By all means target certain groups of the population. For example, I'd not want to stay in an overtly Christian guest house. There's no way I'd book into a weird place like that. But if there was nothing else, and I did book, I don't think they have the right to ban me because I have different views from them. What two people do in their own room is up to them as long as they're not disturbing anyone else. (Noise)

IMO, these people are nutcases. What might they do next? Check your suitcase to see what books you might read on their premises? They don't deserve to have a business and I hope they go bust. :evil:

BTW, we've just got back from a few days in said gay-run place in Bangkok. What a laugh! I feel totally rejuvenated! Despite rarely getting to bed before 5am. Bunch of crazies who stay there!
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Postby ruggie » Sun 30 Jan 2011 22:29 GMT

I wouldn't stay in that B&B, either. Would give me the creeps. But I stick by my position. If a hotel says 'no dogs', 'no Chinese', 'no WASPS' or whatever, I see nothing wrong with that. If everyone disagrees with them, they'll go out of business.

In fact I see a lot wrong with the ever-expanding regulations that insist on forbidding exclusivity. Especially so because it seems to be the same rulemakers who insist on bending over backwards to accommodate incoming groups who want to impose upon us various customs that we grew out of more than 500 years ago.

As I imply in my DSTW post, if you are consistent then you mustalso insist that an Apple repair shop accept PCs for repair...
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Postby Kay » Sun 30 Jan 2011 23:09 GMT

But I stick by my position. If a hotel says 'no dogs', 'no Chinese', 'no WASPS' or whatever, I see nothing wrong with that.


But there are laws to be adhered to. It's against the law in the UK to discriminate. Other countries are different.

You've moved the debate from what's right and wrong in a moral sense to what is legal.

I stick by my position - it's not legal to do this. I'm taking value judgements out of the argument and ignoring what I think is right or wrong. I think it's not legal to do it in the UK.
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Postby Dave » Mon 31 Jan 2011 05:46 GMT

ruggie wrote:As I imply in my DSTW post, if you are consistent then you mustalso insist that an Apple repair shop accept PCs for repair...


I think you're comparing Apples with oranges there, Ruggie. :lol:

In the one instance you're talking about two different services. Technicians trained only in repairing Apple computers are likely to be of limited use (if any) in repairing PCs, so the service provided is likely not to be in demand from the PC-owning customer. Who the customer is is immaterial. Taking your argument ad absurdum, you'd have to also insist that an Apple repair shop sell fish, provide legal services and do dry cleaning.

In the other instance you're talking about a single service offered (or not) to two different classes of consumer.

I'm not sure Kay's right about the shift in the argument - it seems to me that you're saying that you believe service providers should have the right to discriminate, rather than that you believe they do. But I agree with her on the legal point - they don't have that right. (Which is why the BNP recently had to amend its statutes.)

As regards the moral argument, personally I'm glad the court ruled against the B&B owners. I don't believe either a commercial operation or a private common-interest club should have the right to exclude people, or discriminate against them, on the basis of who they are. (Taking your sailing club analogy, a sailing club shouldn't be allowed to bar its gay or unmarried couple members to be on the same yacht together. If the club's affiliated to a particular religious group that believes extra-marital sex or homosexual sex is sinful, then presumably its members would choose of their own free will (ha!) not to commit the sin, and any rule barring it would be superfluous.)
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Postby ruggie » Mon 31 Jan 2011 08:32 GMT

I agree entirely that they were breaking the law. I am concerned about the increase in the number of laws that stop people from establishing their own private space even if it does no harm to society. I share your attitudes to religion, race and sexual behaviour, but I defend the right of those who don't that would like to hide from time to time among people with similar attitudes.

What I dislike is the belief among a small subset of those who deviate from society's majority values that they should force their views on the rest of society. And I believe that refusing them the space to relax with their fellow deviants only makes them more discontented and more likely to disrupt society.
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Postby Kay » Mon 31 Jan 2011 09:26 GMT

If they want to hide away with fellow deviants, then they could perhaps form some kind of private club. If they have a public business, then they have to accept members of the general public.

Anyway, just how much proof are they going to require before they allow a couple to share a bed? A wedding ring? It's easy enough to buy a cheap one just for show. I've no idea where mine is, I never wear it. Can't be bothered with jewellery. A marriage certificate? Gawd knows where ours is. Anyway, it's a Bangladeshi one full of mistakes and corrections. :lol:

I hope they attract loads of gays and unmarried couples who challenge them. Perhaps after losing several court battles, they will give up on their nasty little business.
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Postby ruggie » Mon 31 Jan 2011 09:56 GMT

From what I've seen in recent newspapers, they're attracting the kind of hate mail and witch-hunting that is genuinely detestable. Or rather, she is - he's in hospital.

She's a bigot, but has not done anyone any harm. Now she is being bombarded by people who are behaving in a manner that is really does deserve punishment.
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Postby Kay » Mon 31 Jan 2011 11:28 GMT

I don't know the full story so can't comment about what is happening. However, I would say that if you run a business catering to the general public and you spout off about your views, then you must realise that people will react to them.

I came under attack from some quarters for starting an LGBT place on our Malta forum. It was inevitable. Equally, some people may react badly to my views on religion. If you express your views in public, then you have to expect that some people will disagree with them. It would be very naive to think otherwise.

If you don't want to leave yourself open to attack, then keep your views private and don't express them in public. You can't have a business that prohibits members of the public who don't agree with your views or people who don't fit into your own societal group.

How would you feel if Marks & Spencer put up a sign saying they didn't want people older than 70 to shop in their stores? Goodbye, Ruggie! :twisted:

As for hate mail, people who do that kind of thing are idiots and should be punished. What that Christian couple did was IMO wrong and very silly, but two wrongs don't make a right. Debate is fine but hate mail is despicable.
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Postby chris green » Mon 31 Jan 2011 11:48 GMT

ruggie wrote:She's a bigot, but has not done anyone any harm.


She devalues me. She perpetuates the misery I felt as a child, a teenager and an adult as I struggled to come to terms with being different in a society which still has some way to go in acceptance. She and her like are the reason that we constantly have to guard against these dinosaurs that remain hiding behind their religion OR their own insecurities.

Here is one wrong that society can put right unless it wishes to continue to marginalise a percentage of the offspring of family and friends now and through generations to come.

She harms me every time her conditional trading is promoted. Please don't defend her by saying that her christian beliefs were aimed at ALL un-married and not just single sex couples. I bet she did not close question every check-in.

Nor defend her by saying that the guest house is her home. Her home is the part that she and her husband occupy - enabling them to run the business in the rest of the premises.

Most of the vitriol aimed at her comes from those who cannot articulate a reasoned response or are so emotionally damaged that it will surface in this situation.

The rest are nutters. They reside on both sides of any fence.

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Postby Kay » Mon 31 Jan 2011 12:14 GMT

Well said, Chris!

Thank you for such an excellent post. As long as bigots are allowed to thrive and prosper, the misery they perpetuate will be allowed to continue. They should be shut down, or at the very least stood up to.

So much harm done and all in the name of Christianity. :evil:
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Postby Dave » Mon 31 Jan 2011 12:16 GMT

Chris has hit the nail on the head. If we're agreed that it's desirable to eliminate bigotry from society, then we have to deny bigots the opportunity to express their bigoted views publicly - and advertising services as being available to some people but not others is one form of public expression, as well as being directly humiliating to the people who are excluded.
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Postby ruggie » Mon 31 Jan 2011 14:37 GMT

Welcome to the thread, Chris. This is one of the few fora where I know I can continue the discussion without triggering a flame war, so I'll do so.

Let's start by making sure we all mean the same thing when we talk of bigotry. Wikipedia has this to say:

A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs. The predominant usage in modern English refers to persons hostile to those of differing race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, various mental disorders, or religion.


What I want to discuss on this thread is the second half of the first sentence - intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs.

I think we are all agreed about animosity, but seem to differ on what form of expression of intolerance should be completely unacceptable in society, and also on how society should deal with it.

I believe that legislation is inappropriate, is likely to be counterproductive, and has already been demonstrated to encourage the growth of further legislation that intrudes more and more and tends to arrest the development of society.

My opinion of the B&B landlady is that she is obstinate, bigoted and unimaginative. Had she been more intelligent and socially adaptive, she'd probably have been able to do with her B&B what the proprietors of various gambling institutions and seedy nightclubs did before legislation was liberalised - turn it into a members-only club.

Chris, I understand and sympathise with what you have suffered over the years, but I maintain that this woman did you no harm until the point at which the media picked up on her story.
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Postby chris green » Mon 31 Jan 2011 15:45 GMT

Ruggie, I doubt that you understand my experience and I certainly don't invite your sympathy. I have seen much improvement in attitudes over the years and much of this has been achieved, even forced, by legislation.
History shows how legislation ended slavery, child labour, emancipated working men and then women and has progressed numerous other causes which today we accept without question. In all these cases the envelope was pushed sometimes exasperating those who might consider themselves moderate but acceptance comes with time.

You maintain that this woman did me (my kind) no harm until the media picked up on the story. She had a stated business policy which is homophobic and that is harmful to a great many people. c.
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