A Free Country?

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.

Author: tomkilcourse

A sceptical Mancunian who dislikes pomposity and rudeness.

26 thoughts on “A Free Country?”

  1. It would have taken a brave county court judge to find for Mr & Mrs Bull the guest house owners.

    On the BBC website it says …..” Mr Hall and Mr Preddy’s case was backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission”…... I guess that means that the EHRC paid the costs, which no doubt they’ll get back from Mr & Mrs Bull. Had they lost at the county court I have no doubt they would have appealed it to the House of Lords and beyond. That would have ruined the Bull’s, maybe they should be grateful for small mercies.

    The pendulum is going to come hurtling back the other way when the Muslims take over mark my words.

  2. I have been away this time for seven years. More and more I fail to recognise the place. The slippage into a totalitarian police state appears to proceed inexorably with barely a whimper from the general public. I always thought the labour were bad but this lot with those bloody canting liberals seem even worse!
    Any deviant or wog seems to have far more rights these days than anyone else!
    I seriously think it is about time the country had a revolution and threw the lot out and started again.
    I had always thought that should spousal unit predecease me, that I would return to the UK, but these days I don’t think it is much of an option seeing the state of the place and the taxes! I think I shall take great care to predecease him!!

    PS I wouldn’t have queers in my property either!

  3. Neither would I.

    I were to run a guest house (very10 unlikely. It would have to be equipped with very narrow single beds, although I’d be happy to supply heterosexual (i.e. normal) couples with inflatable double mattresses on the QT.

  4. Tom/Brandwood – You write some good stuff, but I think you will have to decide where to publish it. Both don’t work and I, for one, can’t be a*sed checking to see if any comment I may wish to make here has not already been mirrored on t’other side. Big smiley.

    I hope you will choose the Chariot as your base.

    OZ

  5. It is an interesting judgement, and I think it is on balance the right one.

    One’s religious beliefs, however sincere, should not be above the law. This should be welcomed because it applies to Islam, and any other relgion as well as Christianity, and rightly so.

  6. I find this result a little scary. For reasons I will not go into here, I knew the law on hotels and bed and breakfast pretty well.

    In the original report on this case it stated very clearly that the couple were running a ‘bed and breakfast’ in their own home. If the place was a private hotel (which it seems to have become) then they were definitely breaking the law by refusing to provide accommodation.

    If, however, they were running a ‘bed and breakfast’, or guest house in their own home they were not breaking any laws as they stood some very short time ago.

    Why do I find this scary? Quite simply because the law, as it stood, allowed people to determine who should or should not be allowed into their home. If this law has been changed then no one will have the right to refuse accommodation to anyone.

    Someone I knew ran such an establishment. She received a booking from David Irving. It wasn’t until some time later that she realised he was The Holocaust Denier, and cancelled his booking. He threatened to sue her. She was advised by her lawyer that she could refuse to provide accommodation to anyone she liked for whatever reason she liked – or indeed for no reason at all. And that, I know for a fact, was the way the law was written.

    This judgement may be meant to apply to all religious objections, but some of us doubt that it would, in reality, be applied equally.

  7. I believe a Publican has the right to refuse to serve whomever he pleases, without providing any explanation. It seems rather odd that the same right does not apply to a B&B Proprietor…
    We stayed for a number of days in a B&B near Mclean, Virginia, for a wedding we were attending. The website made it absolutely clear that they would only entertain renting a room to a heterosexual couple if they were married – it transpired it was a Minister of one of the millions of Bible-bashing sects and his wife who owned it. As it happened we had been married for almost forty years -it must have shown, as we weren’t asked for evidence! I don’t know what would have happened if Peter and Paul had turned up, or what the law is in the States in this area.

  8. This does stink. If the B & B was a private home, the owners may discriminate; if not, not. The PC Brigade seem to have blurred the rules – again.

  9. O Zangado :

    Tom/Brandwood – You write some good stuff, but I think you will have to decide where to publish it. Both don’t work and I, for one, can’t be a*sed checking to see if any comment I may wish to make here has not already been mirrored on t’other side. Big smiley.

    I hope you will choose the Chariot as your base.

    OZ

    I don’t give a rat’s a*rse if anybody has commented elsewhere. Why do you?

  10. G’morgen Janus – I thought my initial comment was self-explanatory. I don’t intend putting a post on the troll-ridden and clunky MyT as long as the site previously known as DNMT is alive and kicking.

    OZ

  11. OZ,

    I thought we put this one to bed a while back.

    Tom obviously has people he likes to reach over at the dark place and posts there as he is entitled to do. The same applies here. I for example will not visit that cackhole even if you paid me so if he didn’t post here to I would miss his post altogether.

    So what if someone there makes a similar observation to one made here? The meeja does it all the time. If the DT runs a story does that mean all the others should not?

  12. No, we didn’t put it to bed. You just told me to pull my neck in!
    And so did Boadicea, which, with the greatest respect, had more effect on me than you. 😆

  13. Fair enough or, in your case, furry ’nuff. The Farce is not yet strong in him. Much to learn young Kilcourse has.

    Yoda Zangado

  14. How many times do I have to say – that it doesn’t bother me?

    And how many times do I have to say that people are entitled to their opinion on this matter, and, moreover, have the right to express their opinion?

    I can hear Bearsy jumping up and down in his study muttering “Except me! Except me!”

  15. Now now Bear,

    I didn’t tell you to pull your neck in. I presented an argument thats all. Opinions being like arseholes in that everybody has one. 🙂

    I am still struggling to see the problem with posting the same post on multiple sites.

  16. Actually Ferret, I didn’t see much problem until a double-entered post had comments referring to the MyT post – far too confusing for me! 🙂

  17. Ah Boa,

    I can see how that could be a problem. Suddenly it becomes clear.

    To use the dark side as a basis for arguments made here would certainly get my fur up because I will not visit it. I can see why that would be an issue.

    But if there was a quote for example, reproduced here and in context, I suppose it would be just like saying “Blah wrote in the daily Bugle ‘blah de blah blah'”. That would be furry nuff I suppose.

  18. Thanks Ferret! As I said I didn’t have a problem until then. I do occasionally visit MyT (when Bearsy points me in the direction of something he thinks might really interest me) – but I don’t want to go there.

    I’ll admit I would be happier if double-posters re-visited their posts here more often to answer comments – but I’m not going to go into a spin about it! My feeling is that if the people here are happy with that – OK. If they are not, then they will do what they do to any Author who doesn’t re-visit their posts – which is to stop commenting on them. It’s all down to ‘market forces’ in the end – and not worth raising my blood pressure! 🙂

  19. Hi, Brandwood aka Tom. A good New Year to you.

    Interesting case and a great opportunity for sound and fury about the fact that our country is going to Hell in a handcart.

    Just a wee thought. I’ve now read Judge Rutherford’s decision in this case and I have to say that I can not see what else he could have decided, given the present state of the law.

    Click to access hall-preddy-bull-judgment.pdf

    I personally think that his arguments are well-reasoned, very persuasive and totally fair given the facts admitted by both sides. His first 8 paragraphs which set the scene seem particularly powerful to me.

    We have the claimants relying on the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 and the defendants citing the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights. I might well agree with you that all of these are flawed and driving a coach and horses through our ancient civil liberties but the simple fact is that they are in place and the judge had no discretion to set them aside.

    A few interesting points for me.

    1. It would seem that the case relied on the fact that Preddy and Hall had contracted a civil partnership and, therefore, had the same status as a married couple. Had they not been in such a partnership, then the Bulls might have won as they had evidence that they had turned away unmarried heterosexual couples in the past.

    2. The judge set aside the provisions of the European Convention of Rights as a defence, stating that it would have protected the Bulls so far as the private part of their ‘home’ was concerned but could not protect them for the part where they were offering a service to members of the public.

    3. The judge is very clear in stating that the law on this point is undefined at the moment, given the lack of case law, and he grants immediate right to appeal without it even being requested.

    I’m sorry for going on a bit but this matters to me.

    In sum, we are, in my opinion, still a free country and subject to the rule of law. Any particular law may be misguided, muddle-headed or even plain wrong to many of us but it is not the job of the Courts to sort that out. That’s what Parliament is for.

    The boy Rutherford done well so far as I am concerned.

  20. Thank you, John.

    I agree it was fair, as far as Rutherford’s statements go. He admitted it was a difficult case and he did grant leave to appeal.

    It is completely new territory and his decision and his reasoning seemed exceedingly fair to me, under the circumstances.

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