Anti-gay discrimination to be banned

Hotels, pubs and restaurants will be banned from discriminating against gay and bisexual people, trade and industry secretary Alan Johnson has announced.

Amendments to the government’s Equality Bill will enable regulations to be made to prohibit discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods, facilities and services.

Johnson said: “This government has made significant strides towards equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. We have equalised the age of consent, we have outlawed discrimination at work, and we are introducing civil partnerships.

“But lesbian, gay and bisexual people can still face unacceptable discrimination in their everyday lives – for example, being turned away from hotels, or getting a raw deal from medical or other service providers. That’s simply not fair, and we’re committed to putting it right.”

The Equality Bill, which had its third reading in the House of Lords yesterday, would also:

  • establish the new single Commission for Equality and Human Rights and define its purpose and functions

  • make it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of religion or belief in the provision of goods and services

  • create a duty on public authorities to promote equality of opportunity between men and women (the gender duty) and to prohibit sex discrimination in the exercise of public functions.

The scope of the regulations will be subject to full public consultation, Johnson said.

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