Government ensures equal access for gay community

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Pubs, hotels and restaurants will face prosecution for turning away gay customers, according to government plans announced today.

The scheme fulfils a promise made last year that the 2006 Equality Act would ban discrimination based on sexuality in the supply of goods, facilities and services.

Trade and Industry secretary Alan Johnson announced the consultation on reforms this afternoon, he said: “It’s easy to forget how far we have come in the past eight years. We have repealed clause 28, equalised the age of consent for gay men and introduced civil partnerships.”

“Too often, gay and lesbian people can face discrimination in their everyday lives. I want to make sure that no one gets refused a room at a hotel or a table in a restaurant because of their sexuality.”

“We intend to end this sort of discrimination and make sure that gay men, lesbians and bisexual people can enjoy the same rights and freedoms as heterosexual people.”

“We are committed to bringing in this legislation in October and this consultation seeks views on detailed questions about how it will apply.”

The consultation is seeking views on, how religious organisations and faith schools should be covered, if exceptions should be provided in a few specific areas such as to allow sexual health clinics for gay men or lesbians to continue to target their services to these groups, and how charities should be covered.