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Gay Ref blows whistle on abuse of English Fans

Nigel Owens of Wales has applauded an English rugby fan who blew the whistle on alleged fascist and homophobic abuse directed at him whilst he refereed the England verses the New Zealand rugby international at Twickenham on Saturday 8th November 2014.

Owens who came out as gay in 2007 said he was unaware of any comments from the 82,233 crowd at the time, but the matter was raised as an issue in a letter to a national newspaper from a fan Keith Wilson who was attending the game.

Mr Wilson spoke of his disgust at what he says he heard from a small section of the Twickenham crowd as News Zealand battled to a 24-21 victory.

“As a rugby fan, a straight man in his 60s, I could not believe that a bunch of men half my age watching a rugby match in the 21st century could be capable of hurling such nasty, foul-mouthed, homophobic abuse at an openly gay match official,” wrote Mr Wilson.

No comment from the RFU on this matter has yet be made available.

Irish Bakery facing full force of the Law

A Christian bakery firm which refused to make a cake supporting gay marriage with a picture of the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie has been warned it will be taken to court unless it apologises and pays immediate compensation.

Ashers Baking Co, based in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, was told by a Government equalities agency that it was guilty of “unlawful religious, political and sexual orientation discrimination” for its stance on the Sesame Street-themed dessert.

But the family-run firm said it was ready for a “David and Goliath battle” over the cake insisting it was “what God would want us to do”.

The row erupted after it cancelled a £36.50 order to bake a novelty cake featuring the characters arm in arm under the slogan “support gay marriage” in May, saying that it went against the directors’ religious beliefs.

Daniel McArthur, general manager of the firm, said it would amount to endorsing the campaign for the introduction of same-sex marriage, and go against his conscience.

Legal Gay Pride March

On Saturday 28 June 2014 London was host to a Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Parade.

Member of the Legal profession, including the legal profession Law Society, Bar Council, Chartered Institute of Legal Executives battled the rain to celebrate the event.

Legal bodies marched in London under the banner ‘Equality under the Law’ and spread the message ‘Freedom to… challenge and defend’ to promote LGBT rights, splashing colour around the capital in the process.

Members of the Law Society (led by president Nick Fluck), Bar Council, Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, Interlaw Diversity Forum for LGBT Networks, Bar Lesbian and Gay Group and the Junior Lawyers Division showed their support.

Christian Guest Owners lose Appeal

The Christian owners of a guesthouse who refused a double room to a gay couple have lost their appeal to the Supreme Court.

Hazelmary and Peter Bull refused to let Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy, a homosexual couple in a civil partnership, stay together in a double room.

The Bulls own a private guest house in Cornwall. They are committed Christians who believe that sex otherwise than in a traditional heterosexual marriage is sinful.

They operate a policy at their hotel, stated on their booking form, though not conveyed to the pair when the telephoned to book a room, that double bedrooms are available only to ‘heterosexual married couples’.

In March 2009, supported by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Hall and Preddy brought proceedings against the Bulls under the Equality Act (sexual orientation) Regulations 2007, arguing that the refusal to provide them with a double room was unlawful.

In 2011, a judge at Bristol County Court ruled that the Bulls had acted unlawfully and ordered them to pay the couple £3,600 damages. The Court of Appeal upheld the ruling and today the Supreme Court dismissed the appellants’ further appeal.

The case was heard by Lords Neuberger, Kerr, Hughes, Toulson and Lady Hale. They ruled the Bulls’ policy constituted direct discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.

The appellants accepted that their policy constituted indirect discrimination, but argued that it was justified. The Supreme Court disagreed.

The court also held that the appellants’ rights under Article 9(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the manifestation of religious belief, are engaged. But they said interference with those rights is justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim – the protection of the rights and freedoms of people such as the respondents.