Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to tonight’s “shrieking like a cat with a firework up its arse” final! In the steely grey corner…he’s known for his confrontational sandwich board style…give it up for Mr Miserablist Fundie Christian! And his opponent…in the pink fluffy corner, watch out for his/her (not sure from here) cross-dressing, pinching, hair-pulling action…please welcome Mr Whiny Gay Rights Activist!

*cue wild applause*

Ahem! The above contest is never a fun one to watch, but unfortunately for us it’s being replayed once more right before our bemused faces in the form of a spat over new laws recently introduced to Northern Ireland, and coming soon to the rest of the UK, which make it illegal to refuse goods and services to people on the grounds of their sexual orientation. The thought of these laws have the gay rights lobby cumming in their pants while our religious brethren foam at the mouth. As for the rest of us, we can only hope our ears don’t bleed too much from the hysterical high-pitched screeching emanating from both sides.

Basically this new law means that if you happen to be a fundie Christian who runs a hotel and who would rather not have a bunch of homosexuals romping over one’s fresh bed linen, well there’s pretty much nothing you can do about it (except wash the sheets afterwards). Alternatively, if you happen to be straight and fancy a frolic in the local gay bar you can’t be thrown out for your reluctance to get it on with Big Bearded “Bertha” in a dark and dingy toilet cubical. And you are welcome to sue any managers up the arse if they want to act differently.

Of course, gay people want to be loved, accepted, and tolerated. However, placard wielding religious quacks want to hate, reject and not tolerate gays. So, in our rent-a-right culture each side has claimed that they have an inalienable right at stake: gay people claiming to have a right to be treated a certain way by anyone else who thinks differently; religious folks a right to act as they have been instructed by Big G in Heaven. And both sides seem to think that the government should be pushing their case. Regrettably, but not surprisingly, both sides have missed the point.

The gay rights lobby has been tossing around words like “equality,” “discrimination” and “respect” with reckless abandon, as if the mere mention of such words makes their case incontrovertible. But no one has a right to be treated equally by anyone in inter-personal relationships. As human beings we all value different things – including other people – differently. We make judgments and act accordingly. If I don’t like you – for whatever reason – perhaps because you have big curly ginger pubes, and I hate those bastards – then I should be under no legal obligation to treat you “equally,” whatever this actually means. I don’t want to be your friend, I don’t want to do nice things for you, and I don’t want to have any dealings with you and your Big. Curly. Ginger. Pubes. And no amount of government legislation can convince me to love you (and your BCGP’s) and be your buddy. In fact, if you try to have me compelled by force to do so then I’ll simply hate and resent you all the more – a fact utterly lost on the gay rights lobby who continue with self-inflected shots to the feet through the pursuit of such self-crippling and self-defeating policies.

The word “discrimination” is always used side by side with “equality,” since “discrimination” is almost always thought to breach some immovable principle of equality. It doesn’t. To discriminate is to exercise your conscience and act in accordance with your own values. Discriminating is a normal – and good – human function. It’s the people who can’t or won’t discriminate that worry me – they tend to lack personal values, courage, intelligence, conscience, and are utterly devoid of principle. In fact the claim that everyone is equal is one of the most ignorant, irrational and immoral statements one could ever utter. If a Christian does not wish to have gay people on his own property then that is an act of discrimination – of using his or her own conscience to make a decision to act in accordance to his own values. Although we may not agree with him, his act of discrimination is perfectly legitimate.

The only proviso I will add here in terms of equality is that we are all “equal” under the law – but in practice this means that should I murder someone I don’t get favourable treatment from the court simply because I’m straight, white, male, or the owner of non-ginger pubes. It certainly doesn’t mean that government should ride rough-shod over personal values and force its citizens to treat each other with equal respect. Respect is something that must be earned, and some people will inevitably be more deserving of it than others. No-one is inherently worthy of it, as is often thought to be the case in these dark politically correct times.

To be honest it’s rather difficult not to interpret the screams from the gay rights lobby as desperate cries for love and acceptance. They want to be loved and accepted by everyone else, and if we don’t want to love and accept them then they’ll damned well try to make sure we are compelled by an act of parliament to do so. But you can’t win love, acceptance and tolerance this way, because you won’t have persuaded anyone. An act of parliament is an act of force. It does not a cogent argument make.

The placard waving religious brethren on the other hand have made this an issue of religious rights – as if the sheer fact that something is an article of faith is good enough reason for government legislation to bend accordingly. We must remember that many of these religious folks who regard homosexuality as a deviant sin would see it outlawed altogether along with a host of other activities – from drinking to dancing – that they regard as a deviation from God’s standard. But “God’s Standard,” whatever that is exactly, is not and cannot be a rational basis for any society. Nevertheless these control freaks think they have a right – a divinely gifted one – to impose their will on the rest of us. Thank God they aren’t on the throne.

This debate perfectly illustrates the truth of the maxim – “for every action there is an equal right you can rent to defend it and ward off any criticism.” Unfortunately few of these rights are genuine. As it is the debate here does not fundamentally concern any of the aforementioned “rights.” There is only one right at stake here and it has yet to be mentioned by a single commentator:


If someone owns property then they can pretty much use it as they see fit. For this reason I must side with the fundie Christians on this debate, although on totally different grounds. My home is exactly that: MY home. MY property. Not yours. Not government’s. As such it should be up to me to decide who does and who doesn’t cross the threshold. The same principle holds (or should hold) for all privately owned bars, clubs, hotels, or other businesses. So, if a fundamentalist Christian does not wish to have gay visitors then that is his or her own business choice regarding their private property. This shouldn’t be seen as a slap in the face for so-called “gay equality,” since gay property owners have exactly the same rights to choose who does and doesn’t enter. Thus, if the owner of a gay club doesn’t like the fact that I’ve just spurned the moves of Big Bearded “Bertha” then he can ask me to leave if he wishes. If people don’t like the policy of any given hotel, bar, club, or business then they are welcome to take their custom somewhere else. Consumers and customers are not without power. So when it comes to private property and business it is for the owners and only the owners to make such decisions, and then accept the consequences, whatever they may be. This is a basic property right and it is utterly shameful that it should be so maligned and ignored.

Exactly the same principle holds for the provision of goods and services. Goods and services are owned by someone. Most are not public property. Just whose goods and services are we talking about? Goods and services are not communally owned. They are provided by someone, and, as a form of private property, they should be treated in exactly the same way. Of course, a rational business owner does what he does to make money. In order to do so he must have as wide a customer base as possible, and thus it is highly unlikely that many business people will voluntarily reject the custom of anyone.

If anyone would like to discuss these issues further then you are welcome to come round to my house – except, that is, if you have Big Curly Ginger Pubes.

Stephen Graham