Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Gay rights victory reflects path of social change

Back in 2008 Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy were denied a double room in a Cornish hotel by its devout Christian owners because they were a gay couple. Peter and Hazelmary Bull said the same ban applied to unmarried heterosexual couples. Today Hall and Preddy were awarded damages of £1,800 each by Judge Andrew Rutherford because the Bulls had broken UK equality law. They were, however, granted leave to appeal.
I have no quarrel with the verdict. But I do have some sympathy for the Bulls – it is a fine line between principle and prejudice – and as Mrs Bull said outside the court, Christianity is under pressure in today’s Britain.
Judge Rutherford exhibited commendable wisdom. He cited “the abolition of capital punishment; the abolition of corporal punishment in schools; the decriminalisation of homosexuality and of suicide; and on a more mundane level the ban on hunting and on smoking in public places” as changes in the law which reflected shifts in moral and social attitudes in the last 50 years.
"All of these - and they are only examples - have offended sections of the population and in some cases cut across traditional religious beliefs,” he said.
"I am quite satisfied as to the genuineness of the defendants' (the Bulls’) beliefs and it is, I have no doubt, one which others also hold… not so very long ago that these beliefs of the defendants would have been those accepted as normal by society at large. Now it is the other way around."
I won’t be here to see it but it makes me wonder where the law will stand 50 years from now on those burning issues of today that are currently, for the most part illegal, – euthanasia, drug use, and prostitution.

1 comment:

  1. Yes GC. Says Jaffa. All of his is a reflection of the supremacy of modern secularism and modern state law over the watered down traditional patriarchal authority of the Judean/Christian tradition. Meanwhile the fundamentalists of all religions are moving in completely the opposite direction, embracing exteme positions with sometimes even more extreme puishments for non believers and non observers. How did we come to this position of huge contadictions in the so called scientific age of the 21 st century?


What do you think? GC