Stonewall is delighted at last night’s House of Lords vote to keep new ‘goods and services’ protections in Northern Ireland.
Peers voted by 199 votes to 68 to uphold the regulations, introduced on January 1. They make it unlawful to discriminate against lesbian and gay people in the provision of services ranging from healthcare to hotel rooms.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, said: “This is the largest majority we’ve ever secured in the House of Lords and we’re delighted. The highly inflammatory and well-funded campaign to oppose these much-needed protections reached depths of unpleasantness which we haven’t seen for some years. It has been a stark reminder of how much prejudice still exists in Britain.”
“We now expect Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly to announce the detail of similar robust protections for the rest of Great Britain very swiftly. There is clear evidence that they will not meet parliamentary opposition.”
The government has pledged to introduce protections against ‘goods and services’ discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation throughout Britain by April 2007. Both houses of parliament will once again have an opportunity to vote on the regulations.