The House of Lords has passed the Sexual Orientation Regulations which will come into effect in April in Scotland. I’ve already written a lot about the attitude of certain religious adoption agencies to these, and I will not repeat that now.

There has been such a focus on adoption, that a lot of the detail of these new regulations has gone undiscussed. For example, the days when two men or two women could be thrown out of a restaurant or pub for holding hands are about to come to an end. Certain social mores are changing, and about time too.

And if you have never known what it was like to risk being thrown out of a restaurant for holding hands with someone, pause, stop and think about it, just for a moment, before commenting.


  1. I haven’t – not for holding hands. But I have been removed from a hotel dining room in which we were the only customers – for daring to breast feed a very young baby. As this was not yesterday, I can only hope things have improved, but I’m not holding my breath.
    There are some seriously strange attitudes still at large out there.

  2. It’s not so long ago my friend was asked to leave a restaurant because she was with a person with a learning disability. It can sound unbelievable that the human heart can be so cold. What is it that we fear? Do we really believe that people are “People First”? Why do we need to place labels on ourselves and others like some sort of stigma? Is it fear, jealousy, greed, ignorance, hysteria? Today we may be asked to leave pubs and restaurants but if this cold, distant and authoritarian behaviour goes uncontested, if we simply say nothing, then, tomorrow it may be our jobs, houses and country (not to mention our church) that we are asked to leave. How can we challenge prejudice non-violently? The change in the law is welcome but I feel it will not be enough.

    A change of heart perhaps?

  3. Brian Holden says

    Will the change in the law change people’s attitudes? Sex discrimination, for example, has been illegal for more than 30 years. I suspect that despite this new legislation, hoteliers will continue to discover that they have made a mistake and all their rooms are booked after all.

  4. Thanks for that last comment!

  5. kelvin says

    There will always be people who try to get around the law. Notwithstanding that, I do think that changes in law can make a big difference in the way people behave. I never would have guessed the positive difference that civil partnerships made when they came in.

  6. Brian Holden says

    There is perhaps a difference between prohibitive and enabling legislation in that you can force someone not to do something without changing their inclination to do it. Enabling legislation does have a positive effect, although I suppose a positive effect of prohibitive legislation is that it makes people who are not directly affected by it think about why it should be necessary.

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