Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Home Sweet Home

To stay in a B&B is to stay, albeit on a paying basis (like a lodger), in someone else's home. You wouldn't light up a cigarette if there were a No Smoking sign in the room. In the same way, the right to insist that, under one's roof, double beds will only be provided to married couples (which civil partners are not, legally or in any other sense) deserves to be protected. The issue here is not homosexuality, but marriage. Ruth Kelly, of all Ministers, can you afford to lose any more friends this week?


  1. How can you allow one service provider/business to discriminate under the grounds of sexuality or religion but not others? Surely we should have a blanket ban on discrimination? A B&B is run as a business, not the same as staying in someone's house.

  2. It was only an example. And anyway, this is not about "sexual orientation", it is about marriage. I would have no sympathy with people who agreed to give double beds to unmarried heterosexual couples but not to homosexual couples.

    However, if they insist that such provision is only available to married couples (a distinct legal category, after all), then that should be respected.

    It is perfectly possible to have a homosexual (or heterosexual) "orientation" without ever having committed a homosexual (or heterosexual) act. If people will not have a particular type on act (smoking, homosexual activity) under their roof, then that is their prerogative, including if they therefore decline to proovide ashtrays, or double beds to same-sex couples.

    And yes, staying in a B&B is staying in someone's house, which just happens to have a business in it. It's like lodging, only for a shorter period of time.

  3. If a person is so narrowminded that they discriminate against a civil partnership (which lets face it is just discriminating on the grounds of sexuality) then surely they shouldnt have a business where they are inviting people into their homes. Also, there is a distinction between smoking and a couple sleeping in the same bed. There is scientific evidence supporting the correlation between secondary smoke and smoke related disorders. I think that most rational people have moved on from the notion that homosexuality is a contagious disease. Anyway david - happy new year, I am sorry to see that the season of goodwill did not have a lasting effect on you, reading some of your previous posts, but consistency is a quality we all value I am sure.

  4. I am full of goodwill, let me assure you. So a Happy New Year to you, too.

    I don't intend to go into the health risks associated with male homosexual activity in particular, nor into the very low risks actually inherent in "passive smoking". As someone who very occasionally lights up one of the Revolution's finest if wearing a dinner jacket and rather well-oiled, but who avoids cigarettes like the plague, my objection to smoking is to the dirt and, especially, the smell. This summer, the smoke-free restaurant, pubs and bars on my brother's stag night in Edinburgh were a real revelation.

    But all of this is beside the point, which is that B&Bs should not be compelled to provide double beds to unmarried couples, nor adoption agencies to consider placing children with unmarried couples, or whatever. Again I say that this is not about homosexuality. It is about marriage.

    Furthermore, I reject the historically illiterate concept of a homosexual personal or collective identity, comparable to sex, or even to class or ethnicity. People are not homosexual, acts are; and then there are tendencies towards those acts, as there are towards to all sorts of acts that no one regards as definitive of anything in particular.

  5. Is that not just going down the Tory path of demonising anyone who isnt married and pretending that social ills can be cured simply by promoting marriage. I have 'heterosexual tendencies' and have been with my partner for over a year, and committed to them, and am a respectable working, tax paying non criminal. Why should a B&B owner be allowed to decide that I was unsuitable to sleep in their bed on the basis that I am not yet married? Lets agree to differ!