South African Court declares religion no excuse to discriminate

In a groundbreaking settlement the Equality Court in Cape Town has agreed that owners of a guesthouse cannot use their religious beliefs to turn away gay customers.

Neil Coulson and his husband Jonathan Sedgwick were denied accommodation in November 2013 by the House of Bread because their sexual orientation was in conflict with the owners’ Christian views. The men, who are Christians themselves, wanted to be in the area to be near their son who was going to attend a school camp. They were humiliatingly told that the venue was “not gay friendly.”

This week the case was finally settled in the Equality Court, with the owners apologising for their actions and promising to not discriminate against LGBT people in future, failing which they will be in contempt of court. Triangle Project, the Cape Town based LGBT rights group, applauded the settlement for “protecting LGBTI rights from religious discrimination.”  Read More