UK Police have begun an investigation into why a gay couple were turned away from a guest house in Berkshire because they are a same-sex couple.
Michael Black and John Morgan who live in Cambridgeshire arrived at the guest house in Cookham Berkshire only to be told that the [female] owner was unhappy with same-sex couples sharing rooms. The couple were surprised and somewhat embarrassed by the situation and asked for their booking deposit to be returned. The money was refunded and the owner of the guest house was polite but unflinching in her conviction that her establishment would not allow gay couples to stay.
The case highlights the problems of ensuring equality for all sexualities even in a society where homosexuality has been legal for 40 years. Legislating for equality is relatively easy but it is impossible to ensure that all citizens comply with laws which may contradict deeply held beliefs derived from social, ideological or religious upbringing.
The UK police intend to investigate the incident as is their duty, yet in doing so are they at risk of amplifying the feelings of some anti-gay groups that such anti-discrimination legislation infringes their civil liberties?
In the battle for hearts and minds, the constant struggle to ensure that we build a society where everyone’s sexuality is understood and embraced confrontation like this are not only necessary but essential. On the scale of homophobic incidents this one is relatively minor, despite the acute embarrassment and obvious injustice involved for the couple.
Safe sane and consenting sex between adults of any orientation has to be a fundamental right for all of us in a modern society. It is small battle like this one that must be fought to bring about the acceptance of that fact.