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Government consults on hotel gay discrimination

14 March 2006

The government has announced proposals to outlaw discrimination by pubs, hotels and restaurants against gay and lesbian customers.

The Department of Trade and Industry has put the proposals out for consultation. It is looking for views on banning discrimination based on sexuality by service providers, with fines for those in breach.

The move follows an incident in the summer of 2004 when Wester Ross bed-and-breakfast owner Tom Forrest refused to allow a gay couple to sleep together on his premises. He was subsequently dropped from VisitScotland's quality assurance scheme and website.

Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson said yesterday that gay and lesbian people faced discrimination in their lives too often and that the government was committed to bringing in the legislation in October.

Gay rights group Stonewall welcomed the move, saying it had received a lot of contact from people who had been refused rooms in hotels or access to GPs.

Mr Forrest said he would rather go to jail than compromise his principles, adding that it was his right to refuse someone a room.