Freedom in any civilised society is often a matter of compromise between conflicting interests. There may be cases where someone’s freedom can be enhanced without loss of it by another, and in such cases the enhancement is not contentious. However, I am greatly concerned by a case in which two homosexual men have been awarded damages against the owners of a private hotel who refused to allow them to share a room. The hotel owners claim to be devout Christians, and say that they would refuse a double room to any unmarried couple. The plaintiffs were supported in their claim by the Equality Commission, a quango resting on the public purse.
In my view, this case is another indication that the freedoms of ordinary, law abiding citizens have been eroded to an unreasonable level. The Equality Act appears to provide a big stick with which discontented minorities can intimidate the rest of us. Can we be sure that scrapping that act, and the Commission, would, on balance, diminish freedom in Britain? I am convinced that it would not.