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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Do shelters discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation?

May 18 2009
Same-sex couples turned away from UK shelters, claims Baroness Andrews In a recent speech to the House of Lords, Baroness Andrews, Parliamentary under-secretary for the Department of Communities, claimed that same-sex couples had been turned away from shelters in the UK. The house was discussing the Equality Act, a law the Lords have been pushing to amend since 2005 to cover the provision of goods and services, which the government have accepted. "Much of this debate centres on the right to dignity and equal treatment - the right not to be humiliated," said Baroness Andrews. "It cannot be right, in the body of evidence that we have seen on discrimination against gay and lesbian people, that same-sex couples may be asked to leave a restaurant for holding hands, or that a school can turn a blind eye to homophobic bullying, or that young, homeless people can be asked to leave sheltered accommodation on grounds of their sexual orientation, or that an elderly gay couple in residential accommodation is denied the right to be together." The aim of the Equality Act amendment in 2006 was to outlaw discrimination in provision of services, which covers hotels, shops, the health service, property and, of course, temporary accommodation. The speech was based upon a consultation the House had put forward to organisations that wished to comment on the amendment. Two organisations set up to deal with homophobia in accommodation services, Stonewall Housing and the Albert Kennedy Trust, said they were aware of same sex couples being turned away from temporary accommodation services, but neither organisation could comment as The Pavement went to press.
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