LICENSE TO DISCRIMINATE CANNOT BE PERMITTED – THE RAINBOW PROJECT
The Rainbow Project, Northern Ireland’s largest LGB&/T support organisation expressed it’s disappointment that Paul Givan MLA, with the support of the Enterprise Minister and First Minister launched his campaign to legalise discrimination against LGB people.
The proposed legislation would grant special rights for people of religious belief, and only those people, to deny access to goods, facilities and services on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Speaking after the launch, John O’Doherty, Director of The Rainbow Project said:
‘We are saddened to see, that when the Northern Ireland Executive should be focussing on publishing its long overdue sexual orientation strategy, members are trying to find new ways to discriminate against LGB people. The fact that this proposed legislation will only be used to discriminate against LGB people shows that it is not motivated by a desire to protect those of religious belief but by a hostility to LGB people and their hard-won rights. This is just updating ‘No dogs, No blacks, No Irish’ to include ‘No gays.’
‘Mr Givan claims that his bill will allow believers to deny goods and services to LGB people when it ‘promotes or facilitates same sex relations’. Let us explain to Mr Givan what this means:
- Restaurants could deny a same sex couple a table as this could be facilitating same sex relations
- A mortgage provider could deny a mortgage to a same sex couple as it would be facilitating same-sex relations
- Hoteliers could deny a room to a same sex couple as it would be facilitating same-sex relations
‘The examples are countless. Mr Givan clearly has not considered the implications of his license to discriminate legislation. Ensuring LGB people can access goods and services without discrimination is good for business, good for the economy and good for Northern Ireland’s reputation with investors.
‘If the DUP and Paul Givan actually wanted to address the tensions felt by religious people towards LGB people they would be working with our community and faith-based communities to encourage good relations and mutual understanding as well as ensuring the immediate publication of a sexual orientation strategy.
‘The Rainbow Project will strenuously oppose this proposed license to discriminate and we call on business, civic and religious leaders to stand with us against this unnecessary and irrational form of discrimination.’