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Thread: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAnimus View Post
    This is just silly, it stops being someone's home as soon as someone pays money. Want to have complete control over your guests don't become a business, simple.
    OK, but where is the line?

    If I rent out my spare room am I suddenly a business?

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phage View Post
    Interesting - I was under the impression that you were not to discriminate on the basis of marital status either ? Therefore discriminating on the basis of being unmarried and sharing a bed is also illegal ?
    ....
    Not illegal, at least, not that I'm aware of. If it is, about half of society are offenders.

    But it is against religious beliefs .... and not just, as I understand it, of Christians.

    My point was, when long-established and sincerely held religious beliefs conflict directly with law, what bends or gives? IMHO, it ought to be the beliefs, but it patently isn't always so.

    Whatever we do, though, ought to be consistent.

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAnimus View Post
    This is just silly, it stops being someone's home as soon as someone pays money. Want to have complete control over your guests don't become a business, simple.
    Erm, no, it doesn't. There's a grey area. For example, you are (or were) allowed to rent out a room in your home, (or were, last time I looked) tax-free on the rental income, with the specific criteria that it is in your home. And you can still determine rules and standards expected in your home, because it is still your home.

    That, if you like, is one step between a fully private residence and a hotel. The next step is to rent out more than one room, or room and part board (i.e. B&B) as a business. And, clearly, at the far end is a fully commercial hotel .... even though some staff, and maybe the owners, live on the premises.

    The rules that apply vary, just as they vary between you renting out a house you don't live in to a family, compared to dividing it into an HMO, possibly even if you do live in it. And for any US readers of this, I mean a UK House in Multiple Occupation, not a medical organisation in the US.

    It's a spectrum of situations, rather than a black-white issue.

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    But they weren't refused on the basis of either sex, race or even sexual preference. They were refused on the basis of behaviour, that being an unmarried couple sharing a bed.
    The court found that it was sexual preference that was the discrimination:

    "Michael and John’s claim (funded by Liberty) was made under the new Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 and argued that it was unlawful for a person providing services to the public to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation."

    However, this is old news. The reason the Daily fail are looking at it is that they are (fairly sensibly, surprisingly) pointing out the hypocracy of a couple being targeted for abuse due to their beliefs which themselves caused them to judge other people.

    If we say that it is wrong for a couple to discriminate on sexual preferences, then should we not also say that they should not be a target of abuse for their beliefs? Said beliefs are also the subject of protected characteristics, so those discriminating against them are guilty of the same thing they are in contention with the couple about.

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willzzz View Post
    OK, but where is the line?

    If I rent out my spare room am I suddenly a business?
    No. Or rather, not necessarily.

    HMRC's Rent-A-Room scheme lets you receive up to £4,250 a year tax-free from a lodger. It isn't even necessarily just a room you rent, as it can be more than that. But it does have to be (the actual definition is a little more convoluted) in your "home". It does not apply if you buy a property to let, or as an investment, and it isn't your "home".

    And that scheme can also apply is you also run a B&B in your home, though the tax certainly gets trickier. And there's a downside, in relation to claiming for expenses, like heat, repairs, etc, because you aren't running a business in rooms used under that scheme, because it's part of your home.

    It is, if you like, specifically designed to allow a small annual amount of income from rental, and to provide some amount of extra lodging across the nation, without getting the "landlord" into all the complexities involved in being a proper landlord, or of running a business. A lot of people would consider the prospect of renting a room, particularly if they could do with the income, but would rule it out if it involves the usual substantial hassle and paperwork of running a business. It just isn't, for many people, worth doing if that were the case. It's quite a clever scheme by HMRC.

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    The court found that it was sexual preference that was the discrimination:

    "Michael and John’s claim (funded by Liberty) was made under the new Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 and argued that it was unlawful for a person providing services to the public to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation."

    .....
    No, it didn't. Or rather, hasn't yet. Read that para you quoted again, and then read the one before it ....

    Meanwhile the wheels of justice ground on, all culminating in a court hearing this week at Reading County Court. The judgment is deferred for a couple of weeks.

    Michael and John’s claim (funded by Liberty) was made under the new Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 and argued that it was unlawful for a person providing services to the public to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation.

    ....
    The bold, and bold coloured, emphasis is mine.

    What you quote as the ruling was in fact the basis of the claimant's claim. It has not yet been ruled on, or certainly hadn't at the point of that article, though it's imminent.

    And, rather predictably, the claimant's claim puts the basis for the claimants legal argument.

    That said, that may be what the judge rulers. If it does, it isn't necessarily definitive, though, is it. It may be appealed, and that may happen several times (Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, ECHR, etc). We may not have a definitive outcome for several years, if that happens.

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    Oops, I was getting ahead of myself and/or was confused with a similar story. But the point was that the claim was being made on sexual orientation grounds, not suspicion of fornication.

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    Oops, I was getting ahead of myself and/or was confused with a similar story. But the point was that the claim was being made on sexual orientation grounds, not suspicion of fornication.
    Understood, but the response is that they have no problem with gay people in single rooms, and have the same problem with straight people that aren't married in double rooms, but not single rooms, and that their objection, therefore, isn't that they are gay but were sharing a bed while unmarried. And apparently, not in a civil partnership either.

    That being the case, it's not that they were gay that got them refused, per se, but that they were not "married", and that the same restriction would have, and had previously been, applied to straight but unmarried couples.

    I can see both sides of this, and it'll be interesting to see how the judge does eventually rule, and whether it gets challenged or not.

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    I have another question though.

    If they object because of unmarried people having sex being a sin in the eyes of God, and refuse because of that, then does not the Bible say that homosexuality if an abhorrence, or some such?

    So, would they refuse on the basis of one 'serious' sin, but not on the basis of another? A somewhat inconsistent, to say the least, approach to one's religion, if I understand the biblical definitions correctly.

    One wonders, therefore, how much of the "unmarried" thing is mere sophistry.

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    All of it. And illegal to discriminate on the basis of it anyway.
    Society's to blame,
    Or possibly Atari.

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    I have another question though.

    If they object because of unmarried people having sex being a sin in the eyes of God, and refuse because of that, then does not the Bible say that homosexuality if an abhorrence, or some such?

    So, would they refuse on the basis of one 'serious' sin, but not on the basis of another? A somewhat inconsistent, to say the least, approach to one's religion, if I understand the biblical definitions correctly.

    One wonders, therefore, how much of the "unmarried" thing is mere sophistry.
    I don't think I quite get your point - are you saying that because they are Christians they *should* refuse on the grounds of homosexuality and therefore they would be illegally discriminatory, even if on this and other occasions they claim to be discriminating in order to prevent fornication?

    If so, I think that's a dangerous line to go down, interpreting someone's religion for them and refusing them the opportunity to practise in line with the laws of the land - if that were followed to its conclusion you would outlaw all religion that in anyway had the potential to be contrary to the law of the land, regardless of how it was practised.

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    I don't think I quite get your point - are you saying that because they are Christians they *should* refuse on the grounds of homosexuality ....
    No, not at all.

    My point was that they say they refused not because the couple were gay, but because they were unmarried, and that that is a sin. But surely, the bible regards homosexuality as a sin?

    So, if they would refuse on the basis of one sin (unmarried) surely their beliefs would require them to refuse on the basis of another sin (namely homosexuality) in the event that the gay would were "married".

    In other words, is it not sophistry on their part to say they didn't refuse because of homosexuality but because being unmarried, because if that couple had gone away, got married (or civil ceremony, or whatever) and come back, then they're still homosexual but now married, yet those same religious beliefs would still regard that as a sin, despite being married, and therefore, grounds for refusal by their standards.

    I'm not saying that they "should" refuse gays, married or not, or that it would be right. I'm saying that as homosexuality, by their standards is as much of a sin as being unmarried, they'd have refused on the basis of homosexuality even if they were married, so the marriage status made no difference to whether they'd have refused or not.

    In other words, it rather smacks of a potentially legally plausible get-out, from what otherwise might well be a very clear case. Whether it works or not remains to be seen.

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    IMO a B&B should be able to decide who they accept as customers without having to give a reason.
    Works with pubs.

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phage View Post
    All of it. And illegal to discriminate on the basis of it anyway.
    ON the first, quite possibly.

    On the second, maybe. But I've not seen anything that suggests that refusing a double bed to unmarried folk is necessarily discriminatory on a basis with legal force, and even if it is, it remains to be seen if religious belief trumps that, because as I said some time back, it does on a number of other issues. We'll need the resolution of at least this court, and perhaps more, to know if it's illegal or not.

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willzzz View Post
    IMO a B&B should be able to decide who they accept as customers without having to give a reason.
    Works with pubs.
    No, no it doesn't if the pub discriminates on the basis of Black/Irish/Catholic/Unmarried/whatever - it's illegal. If you think you've been barred for any of these reasons, bring an action. Most training for bar staff and management is VERY clear on issues like that.
    Society's to blame,
    Or possibly Atari.

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    Re: Should B&Bs be allowed to discriminate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    ON the first, quite possibly.

    On the second, maybe. But I've not seen anything that suggests that refusing a double bed to unmarried folk is necessarily discriminatory on a basis with legal force, and even if it is, it remains to be seen if religious belief trumps that, because as I said some time back, it does on a number of other issues. We'll need the resolution of at least this court, and perhaps more, to know if it's illegal or not.
    Can't speak for the UK but the Aus law is fairly clear.
    Where the treatment is 'unfair', ie refusing a double bed, where one is available, to an unmarried couple, it's illegal.
    Society's to blame,
    Or possibly Atari.

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