Friday, 11 March 2011

EHRC explains about the B&B case

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has issued a statement: Commission statement on Preddy and Hall legal case

11 March 2011

John Wadham, Legal Director at the Commission, said:

“This morning we withdrew our cross appeal in this case. It was filed initially because of an error of judgment on the part of our legal team.

“They submitted the cross appeal in an attempt to clarify the law around how damages are calculated in cases such as this. This resulted in it appearing that Steve Preddy and Martyn Hall were seeking to increase the amount of damages they receive because Mr and Mrs Bull’s Christian beliefs had led them to break the law. This was not our intention and it was certainly not the intention of Steve and Martyn.

“I would like to confirm that public money will not be spent funding a claim for increased damages in this case…”

That’s the second retraction the EHRC has made in recent days. See also Johns v Derby City Council.

The Press Association report is available at Gay couple end hotel payout claim.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 March 2011 at 2:35pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: equality legislation
Comments

Typical politically correct, cowardly liberals. They soon back-down.

If the action was plain wrong, why rush in in the first place ?

Backing out now because of the heat.

Lesbian and gay people are still being treated as objects - using first names with implied false pally-ness does not change that.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 11 March 2011 at 2:58pm GMT

EHRC is a very dodgy body.

Paying lip service to lesbian + gay equality.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 11 March 2011 at 3:00pm GMT

I think it's more a case of still not being very good on these issues. The couple concerned wanted to establish a legal precedent and clarify that the law does not give Christians special rights to discriminate. We won the case and the evangelicals lost as they have lost every similar case. Think they will soon have to stop wasting money on unwinnable cases

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 11 March 2011 at 5:26pm GMT

Perhaps the most disturbing outcome of this sorry business is that there was an attempt by the so-called 'Christian Institute' to justify the illegal discrimination of the hotel owners against the people they were supposed to 'serve' - as bona fide hoteliers. If you're in business, you don't necessarily have the right to choose who your customers are.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 11 March 2011 at 10:25pm GMT

Father Ron, if someone is in business, they have an absolute right to decide with whom they trade. This goes to the nature of how a contract between a customer and a supplier is made.
The supplier, in displaying his product/service, is in law 'inviting offers to buy', NOT making an offer to sell. When the offer to buy is made by the customer, the trader has the right to accept or refuse that offer. He is not required to give a reason for turning down the offer - any more than he would have to give a reason for accepting it.
Equality law of course, cuts across this and no doubt these two areas of our laws will need to be reconciled. Any finer points which favour the trader, will doubtless be submerged by the sheer polico/legal aggression applied by actors and followers of the homosexual agenda.

I wonder how it might have played out if the Butts had simply refused to trade without giving their reasons, as in law they were entitled to do? I presume there would have been an assumption made as to what the Butts were thinking as they refused custom. And that leads us down a much more sinister road............

Posted by: Chris Baker on Saturday, 12 March 2011 at 11:01am GMT

'The sheer politico/legal aggression...'

Chris Baker seems to exemplify this so well himself.

As for the points of law laid down by him -- I have no idea. Do others here ?

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Saturday, 12 March 2011 at 3:58pm GMT

"Any finer points which favour the trader, will doubtless be submerged by the sheer polico/legal aggression applied by actors and followers of the homosexual agenda." - Chris Baker -

So, the bias, then, is always towards the *trader's* rights - and against those of the client? That certainly doesn'r sound like something that would be countenanced by any agency concerned with 'Consumer Affairs'.One supposes this sort of outlook produces the phrase 'caveat emptor'.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 12 March 2011 at 8:35pm GMT

I may be wrong, but hadn't the Bulls accepted a (telephone?) booking from the couple and so it was a bit past the 'invitation to trade' stage.

Posted by: Kennedy on Saturday, 12 March 2011 at 9:36pm GMT

Laurence,
yes, I do.
You can offer to buy and sell services but you cannot decide that a whole category from people is excluded from that offer for no other reason than who they are.

Of course Chris is right. If someone refuses to buy or to sell without giving reasons, there is nothing anyone can do about it.
That's not the same as saying that refusing is legal or morally acceptable.

If I drive 60 mph on a 30 mph road and I don't get caught, nothing will be done about it.
That's not the same as saying that speeding is legal or morally acceptable.

I can refuse to translate gay pornography.
I cannot refuse to translate something because the client is gay.

It really is very very simple and the law is very very clear.

You cannot refuse to serve people because they are gay.
End of story.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 12 March 2011 at 10:16pm GMT

Chris B "if someone is in business, they have an absolute right to decide with whom they trade"

I'm no lawyer, but I thought the point of the equality legislation regarding goods and services is to say that, when offering a service, the service-provider does not have the right to turn people away merely because (s)he dislikes their skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Surely this is so obviously a good - and Christian - thing (do you not remember the days of "No blacks, no Irish"?) that it looks extremely churlish of even Conservative Evangelicals to make such a song and dance about it.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Saturday, 12 March 2011 at 10:26pm GMT

I wonder if Chris Baker would be as sanguine about a situation where a Jewish or Muslim or Hindu (or whatever) merchant refused to sell to a Christian, on the grounds of his religion?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Sunday, 13 March 2011 at 1:32am GMT

Erika says
"Of course Chris is right. If someone refuses to buy or to sell without giving reasons, there is nothing anyone can do about it.
That's not the same as saying that refusing is legal or morally acceptable."
Also -"It really is very very simple and the law is very very clear.
You cannot refuse to serve people because they are gay.End of story."

Absolutely right. But you CAN refuse to sell.(Sale of Goods Act 1979)
The question I will put though is:- If I, (for instance), deny a service to someone, if I choose not to sell an article to someone and that someone turns out to be homosexual, what assumption will be made as to my thinking process?

Erika says also that if someone refuses to trade without giving a reason, then nothing can be done about it. I would say however, that when equality legislation bumps up alongside Sale of Goods legislation, then the compensation claim ain't far away. It has been held that you cannot legislate against peoples thoughts - but I suspect we are, if not there already, then very close to it.
I'll finish with this - The homosexual agenda is riding very high at the moment, even though some 95%+ of our society is not of that nature. The term 'homophobic' is tossed around with gay (sorry) abandon towards the slightest perception of dissent against that agenda. The politics are of the harshest and most unforgiving. There is justification of course - the treatment of homosexuals in the past has been shameful and degrading. The thing I fear now is a backlash of attitude as the developing positive discrimination takes hold and expands.

Oh, Father Mark, certainly it is a 'good and Christian thing'. Despite what some may be reading into my scribblings here,it would never occur to me to reject or refuse someone on the strength of their sexuality. In private I might wonder why they chose unbidden to inform me of it?
And I certainly would not ask.
Chris B

Posted by: Chris Baker on Sunday, 13 March 2011 at 1:33am GMT

Chris, you said

"if someone is in business, they have an absolute right to decide with whom they trade. This goes to the nature of how a contract between a customer and a supplier is made."

Does it work the other way? Does a business employer have an absolute right to decide whom they employ - to turn down an offer from a potential employee on the simpe basis that they are Christian? And if so why all the court cases about British Airways crucifixes and Derby foster parents?

Under your argument these employers are "not required to give a reason for turning down the offer - any more than (they) would have to give a reason for accepting it".

Simon

Posted by: Simon Dawson on Sunday, 13 March 2011 at 9:24am GMT

"The question I will put though is:- If I, (for instance), deny a service to someone, if I choose not to sell an article to someone and that someone turns out to be homosexual, what assumption will be made as to my thinking process?"

We had exactly the same hypothetical problems thrown up when people didn't want to have to be forced to make business transactions with women or with blacks.

There will always be some isolated cases where people’s motivation is misunderstood.
There will be isolated cases where women claim discrimination, blacks claim racism and gay people claim homophobia when it isn’t warranted.

That alone is no reason not to enact Equality Legislation!

There will also will always be some who will get away with genuine discrimination.
Some will even feel smugly proud of themselves and be glad that the feminist/homosexualist or whatever invented agenda they are railing against is getting a slap in its face.

Again, that doesn't mean it's particularly moral or particularly grown up. And it's definitely not legal.

It really is simple.
Do. Not. Discriminate. Against. People. Because. They. Are. Gay.

How hard is it?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 13 March 2011 at 12:11pm GMT

Simon, my understanding is that in your example, the 'contract' is offered by the employer - for the applicant to accept or reject. I see no value however in trying to compare Sale of Goods legislation with that of employment law. The 'contract' in S.O.G is a simple, almost simplistic thing, whilst that in employment law is a minefield of complexity.
CB

Posted by: Chris Baker on Sunday, 13 March 2011 at 12:19pm GMT

I suppose that the law regarding services is quite different from the law regarding buying and selling. It's true (I suppose) that a car dealer could refuse to sell a car to someone without needing to give a justification (but why would a dealer do that?), but surely a restaurant owner cannot refuse a place to someone who enters on the basis of race, perceived sexual orientation, gender, religion or you name it(as restaurants and lunch counters did in the southern USA until sit-ins and then civil rights legislation changed that). There would have to be a real justification (the person concerned had caused trouble before, or insisted on passing out political brochures, or insulted a waiter or guest, etc etc), not just a personal discomfort.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Sunday, 13 March 2011 at 2:34pm GMT

Sara,
"I suppose that the law regarding services is quite different from the law regarding buying and selling."

NO,no,no.Selling services is axactly the same as selling goods. The customer makes an offer to the seller - the seller chooses whether to accept the offer (prob. subject to a consideration), or whether to refuse it. There is no more to a goods or services contract than this.
We might well think that the trader is stupid to refuse business, but it IS his right. If he gives no reason, which again is his right, then he had better start praying that the customer is not active in sexual, racial or other societal minority politics.
CB

Posted by: Chris Baker on Sunday, 13 March 2011 at 11:15pm GMT

Chris Baker, your homophobic comments seem to be clouding your better judgement on what constitutes a fair anf just society. Your fear of what you describe as the 'homosexual agenda' renders you 'off-side' with more enlighthened public opinion. One does not, after all, speak of a 'hetero-sexual agenda' so why isolate one section of society - just because you feel threatened by it?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 13 March 2011 at 11:16pm GMT

Chris,
"If he gives no reason, which again is his right, then he had better start praying that the customer is not active in sexual, racial or other societal minority politics."

Oh, I think I'd find it fairly easy to work out the difference.
If someone who has never met me before suddenly doesn't sell me his car, I shall just think he's a bit odd.
If a B&B I have already booked refuses me when I turn up with my wife, I shall have a fair idea why.

And if, to take a genuine example, I find that my quotes for translating Christian material get accepted and a day or so later I lose the job - something that doesn't happen in any other of my specialist subjects but with astonishing frequency in Christianity and Theology - I know with 99% certainty that someone has googled with my name and not liked what they discovered.

I think, Chris, you can talk to me about potential problems for straight people after we've sorted out the actual ones for me.

Would I use the law against people? Not unless the discrimination was absolutely blatant, as with the B&B owners, and if it left me stranded without accommodation, for example.
Otherwise, I know that the best course of action is to let the meaning and the purpose of the law sink in and people change along with it.

Your views are already immoral and abhorrent and, fortunately, in the minority.
In another decade this will be apparent to even more people. In another 2 decades you can only whisper them in public because people will treat you with the same contempt with which they treat racists.

We need the law to show that the mores of society have changed. We won't need to evoke it often. Real change comes from people’s hearts and it is precisely that change that has already resulted in the changes in law. It will continue, however you may throw up possible consequences for the poor straight majority and invent persecuting activists that want more than the equality that is rightfully theirs.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 14 March 2011 at 8:42am GMT

Father Ron, I bow to your greater wisdom.
CB

Posted by: Chris Baker on Monday, 14 March 2011 at 9:14am GMT

Chris Baker also seems to have the typical retail transaction backwards...or else is still thinking we live in a barter society. When I go into a store and pick a product off the shelves, I don't go to the cashier and say, "I'll pay you $X for this." Rather, I go to the cashier, they scan the bar code and the system comes up with the price for the item and I pay that.

Same with a service, like a hotel room. The hotel's rates are posted. Even if I order from an online service, my choices for rates are limited. And, no, at least in the United States, a retailer cannot blithely refuse to sell to a customer unless that customer has done something to reasonably make his trade unwelcome--prior theft, rude behavior to store personnel, not abiding by health code rules ("no shoes, no shirt, no service"), etc.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 14 March 2011 at 10:29am GMT

Chris Baker: treating people fairly and kindly whether or not they happen to be female, gay or black (and I assume therefore that you are none of these) is not being "active in sexual, racial or other societal minority politics." It's just being decent.

Really, the mean-spiritedness behind your jibes here is not something at all Christian. I am not diminished when my neighbour is accorded the respect due to every child of God, whoever my neighbour may be. The exercise of Christian charity and compassion is not a zero sum game where I lose out every time someone else's human rights are recognised. That is a bizarre and unpleasant logic, Chris. But it is the same as that discussed here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/phil-zuckerman/why-evangelicals-hate-jes_b_830237.html

Posted by: Fr Mark on Monday, 14 March 2011 at 11:57am GMT

Thank you all for a robust debate. I was intereted to see which segments of my scribbles were quoted and, a bit disappointed to see what was ignored. Such though is ever the nature of internet discussion.
Nobody asked what MY sexual orientation is .....,

Chris Baker

ps if anyone still is unsure of traders' rights to refuse a sale, this may help -(3rd para) http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/core.nsf/a/tscivillaw

Posted by: Chris Baker on Monday, 14 March 2011 at 2:53pm GMT

Chris
"Nobody asked what MY sexual orientation is ....."

That's because it really doesn't matter.
It is not an issue.
It is completely irrelevant.

Which is what we're saying here all along.

Could you in turn tell me why it worries you so much that traders might refuse sales? I mean, they'd only penalise themselves, wouldn't they? It's a completley hypothetical and extremely unlikely scenario!
Seriously - what possible reason could a baker have for not selling bread to someone, or hardware shop for not selling white spirit?


Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 14 March 2011 at 4:04pm GMT

"That's because it really doesn't matter.
It is not an issue.
It is completely irrelevant."
Exactly, and you will find that I said just that in another form back up the posts a bit. Unfortuately it was accompanied in that post by a sentence or two which failed to support the judgement of my 'homophobia', so perhaps did not register.

And I am not in the least 'worried' by traders refusing sales - the subject was referred to almost ad nauseam by contributors looking for common sense where the law seemed to be devoid of it. I have no idea why a baker might refuse to sell a loaf of bread : but he can if he wants to,
and I am definitely not going to worry about it,
CB

Posted by: Chris Baker on Monday, 14 March 2011 at 4:34pm GMT

Chris
so what was all that talk about the "homosexual agenda" about, a term usually only used by anti-gay straight people who want to diminish gay people's battle for equality?

And if you're not worried about bakers not selling bread, why make a point of commenting on the possibility here several times?

You're not anti-gay rights, you're not worried about traders not selling to gay people.
Was that it?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 at 8:03am GMT

Erika -those confounded bakers.
Read again - you will see that after my initial post, the subject was dragged out by others. Perhaps in hindsight I should have ignored them?

" was that it?"
Well, sort of. I am sorry that I was rather more provocative than originally was my intent. I have learnt a lot from this discussion, (though I was already well versed in consumer law !!) BUT I may never forgive the gay comunity for stealing the word "gay". :-)

CB

Posted by: Chris Baker on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 at 8:10pm GMT

Chris
yeah, that elected committee of people representing the gay community employing a conman to steal the word "gay" from the rest of the world. Shocking what people will get up to.

But then there is a counter theft by homophobes who turn a simple battle for equality into a sinister "homosexual agenda" that is to be feared.

On balance, I'm with the guys who stole the happy word.

And I still don't understand how it is supposed to be Christian to refuse to engage with those you perceive to be sinners. I can just about understand the emotions of a couple who has never met a gay couple and who is suddenly required to give them a double room in their house. The law is rightly against them, but their emotions are truly easy to understand and I do feel sorry for them. They are guilty of nothing but having simply been left behind by the times and casualties like that are deeply sad.

But which Christian doctrine says that you must shun the sinner until he has repented? When did "believing that God doesn't encourage gay sex" translate into "don't have any dealings with those people?"

Those who have a traditional understanding of sexuality still have to ask themselves a lot of searching questions about how that understanding is to be expressed in day to day life!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 16 March 2011 at 9:12am GMT

Erika,
"But which Christian doctrine says that you must shun the sinner until he has repented? When did "believing that God doesn't encourage gay sex" translate into "don't have any dealings with those people?"

Ermmmm ,Oh Go on then, which doctrine was it? More to the point, why do you want to know? I don't - never have.
CB

Posted by: Chris Baker on Wednesday, 16 March 2011 at 6:39pm GMT

Why do I want to know?
Because all of the Christian division on homosexuality seems to centre around being allowed to discriminate against gay people, not having to have them in your house, not having to photograph their life events, you even talk of the right of not having to sell them bread.

Where is this coming from?
We don't have the same campaigns about not having to to sell paint stripper to tax evaders or not having to serve chips to divorced people or not having to place foster children with people who don't observe the Sabbath.

There is something that allows Christians to believe that something is a sin yet leaving the judgement between Jesus and the sinner, and homosexuality where the same people believe their whole salvation hangs on being legally permitted to shun the sinner.

It's deeply immoral, it's deeply damaging to gay people but it's also damaging to those who believe they're following the example of Christ.
And it's not grounded in our faith and in our doctrines, however much people claim their faith as reason.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 17 March 2011 at 8:55am GMT

Erika,
Hyperbole, sophistry and non-sequiters all in the space of four sentences.
Too much for me - I surrender. I concede that you are absolutely right in all respects and aspects of whatever topic it is we have arrived at.

All the best and have a good one.
Chris

Posted by: Chris Baker on Thursday, 17 March 2011 at 2:19pm GMT

Chris
ok - more simply:
what is the appropriate Christian way of dealing with sinners and do all the legal battles around wanting to discriminate gays represent the best of Christian doctrine in this case?

It's not actually a difficult question.
It just happens to be one people don't often ask themselves in this conversation.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 17 March 2011 at 10:12pm GMT

As the old bishop said to the Warden,

"Sinners are so much easier to deal with."

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 18 March 2011 at 10:03pm GMT
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