Britain: should two men kiss in a pub?

A protest in Soho over a controversial decision to eject same-sex kissers.  Should the attitudes of publicans change?

A male gay couple were seen kissing in a Soho pub in London and were told to leave.  According to the BBC, hundreds of protestors have staged a mass same-sex kissing session outside the John Snow pub in Broadwich Street to demonstrate their disgust at the pub management's decision.  But were the management justified?  Or are such attitudes outmoded and inappropriate?

Leyla Rezavi, a solicitor with Russell Jones Walker, a discrimination law firm, told Pink News “while landlords have a right to eject customers from their premises for certain kinds of behaviour, the Equality Act 2010 requires them to apply the same standards to straight and gay customers."

Most people would not object to seeing a straight couple holding hands and kissing each other affectionately.  Yet they might take exception to a straight couple "snogging" for a prolonged time in a passionate and overtly sexual way in a public place.  This was gay people though.  And the event occurred in a pub, which is a privately owned venue open to the public.

And in Soho, too:  a renowned haunt of the Capital's gay population.

It seems that the pub management over-reacted in response to a complaint from a straight middle-aged customer out for a quiet drink in a pub with his wife.  And there are differing accounts as to the length and intensity of the kiss between the two gay men concerned.  The BBC reports that Daniel Griffiths, ex-president of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations, said if they did not like the house rules, "don't use the pub".

It seems that if the country agrees with the change which has taken place regarding gay people's place in society, the people - including recalcitrant pub landlords and landladies - should accept the legal status of homosexuals as equal citizens.

For too long gay people have had to hide affections and maintain discretion.  If straight people were treated in this fashion there'd be outrage.  Of course, in certain Middle Eastern cultures public displays of affection of any kind are illegal and punishable by lashings, imprisonment and worse. Homo-intolerance isn't restricted to Iran, as it's prevalent in Uganda, Gambia and most of Africa, but not South Africa.  Much of Asia is highly intolerant, although not so in Thailand.  But the UK has evolved since the time when the illiberal, discriminatory views of the Church and Establishment held sway. 

The UK anti-discrimination laws have been passed.  And public attitudes should follow suit, don't you think?  Whether inside or outside a pub.

No comments:

Post a Comment