Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New laws protecting gay rights

I am trying to work out how I feel about the new laws that make it illegal to refuse to provide services (e.g. a room in a guest house, a wedding photographer) to same sex couples. Here's one of the latest news items from the BBC about it, in case people aren't aware

On the one hand, I welcome anything that prevents discrimination and affords people equal status in our society. Imagine if a business refused to serve black people, or disabled people, we'd be appalled, and rightly so. But, as religious groups protest, saying the law requires them to act contrary to their faith, I can't help but wonder if the law is the right place to fight the battle.

We can change laws, but its going to take a lot more to change hearts and minds, and that's where real equality can be achieved. Imagine a society, where we didn't need anti-discrimination laws because we valued people for their race, culture, religion, abilities, sexuality etc., and gladly welcomed everyone.


Peterson Toscano said...

it does raise a dilemma because by enacting the law, some Christians see this as a direct assault on their beliefs. Of course there was a time when White churches in the US did not allow Blacks to attend and there was the famous Christian school that did not allow mixed-race couples.

The law sounds like a good one, but you may be right that society hasn't caught up yet with them. I wonder if their will be a serious backlash.

The work of raising awareness, protesting, doing that ground work helps to changes hearts and minds, but at the end of the day, some people will not make any changes unless forced to do so.

Claire Tanner said...

A very interesting post. It raises the question of what role law should have in our society - should we enact laws to respond to people's views, or in an attempt to change them? I very much agree with you that the law is not the ideal place in which to be dealing with the issue, but sadly it is the only way in ensuring equal treatment for all. It would be better, however, if an awareness raising campaign was run alongside the laws so people could understand the issues involved, and not merely feel obliged to accept them.