Sunday, November 09, 2008

Human Rights, Discrimination and Sexual Identity

In itself, this story is the usual story of a gay couple being denied rental accommodations because they are gay.

However, the following reader comment speaks to the degree of ignorance people have about such matters:

Oh Hello?

I think it is their home they have the right to rent to who they want.

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal better have their thinking caps on straight on this one!


This makes me furious beyond belief. The reality is described in considerable clarity in S. 8 of the BC Human Rights Code:

Discrimination in accommodation, service and facility
8. (1) A person must not, without a bona fide and reasonable justification,
(a) deny to a person or class of persons any accommodation, service or facility customarily available to the public, or
(b) discriminate against a person or class of persons regarding any accommodation, service or facility customarily available to the public because of the race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation or age of that person or class of persons.

(2) A person does not contravene this section by discriminating
(a) on the basis of sex, if the discrimination relates to the maintenance of public decency or to the determination of premiums or benefits under contracts of life or health insurance, or
(b) on the basis of physical or mental disability or age, if the discrimination relates to the determination of premiums or benefits under contracts of life or health insurance.


So...once again, someone claims "religious grounds" to justify their discriminatory practices - in the context of a commercial transaction - after having already reached an agreement.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have a huge amount of trouble with the fact that the couple renting out their basement suite are Christian. What I take exception to is the seeming demand that their tenants must abide by the moral codes of the landlord. I can just see the next round of "instant martyr, just add persecution" - after all, they were only being 'Good Christians', right?

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