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article imageB&Bs should be allowed to turn away gays, says British MP

By Andrew John     Apr 5, 2010 in Lifestyle
A leading Tory in the UK has come under fire after he suggested that it was OK for bed-and-breakfast establishments to turn away gay couples.
Chris Grayling, the shadow Home Secretary, said that people who run B&Bs in their homes were different from hotels. Hotel are not allowed to turn same-sex couples away.
“Grayling was secretly taped making the comments at a meeting of the right-leaning Centre for Policy Studies think-tank last week,” says the Independent. “In a recording obtained by [the UK Sunday newspaper] the Observer, Mr Grayling said gay people should not be turned away from hotels, but said there was a difference with B&B owners running their business from home.”
His remarks may come as an embarrassment to the Tories, who have striven to court the pink vote. Then again, this is also party that introduced the notorious Section 28, which outlawed the “promotion” of homosexual lifestyles by local authorities.
Grayling was taped saying, “I think we need to allow people to have their own consciences . . . If it’s a question of somebody who’s doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn’t come into their own home.”
The law in the UK currently says any commercial operation – including B&Bs run from homes – must not refuse service to gay people. Grayling’s comments follow a row over a gay couple turned away by a Christian B&B owner in Cookham, Berkshire, last month.
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the homosexual lobby organization Stonewall, said the comments would be “very alarming to a lot of gay people who may have been thinking of voting Conservative”.
Michael Black and his partner John Morgan was turned away from a bed-and-breakfast in Berkshire because of their sexuality. They are quoted in Scotland’s Herald newspaper today as saying that Tory leader David Cameron should fire Grayling.
“I think he certainly needs to explain himself,” says Black. “I would hope that David Cameron would sack him as shadow Home Secretary and make it clear the sort of attitude that religious belief puts people above the law is not acceptable in the Conservative Party.”
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