Two weeks ago the Observer published a secret recording of Conservative shadow home secretary Chris Grayling where he appeared to support bed and breakfast owners turning away gay couples. Now Mr Grayling has said he does not support bans and that he now supports gay adoption.
“I don’t think that people who are gay should be turned away from a B&B,” he told Channel 4 News. “They would be wrong to do that.”
In the secret recording published by The Observer, Mr Grayling told the audience at the Centre for Policy Studies: “I think we need to allow people to have their own consciences,” he said. “I personally always took the view that, if you look at the case of should a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude a gay couple from a hotel, I took the view that if it’s a question of somebody who’s doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn’t come into their own home.”
Mr Grayling later said that he was explaining his though process prior to voting in favour of the Equality Act which discrimination on the basis of sexuality for the provision of goods and services. Mr Grayling was making reference to Susannne and Mike Wilkinson, who own the Swiss B&B in Berskhire and hit hit the national news last month for turning away a gay couple who had booked a room.
In his interview for Channel 4 News, Mr Grayling told Jon Snow that he had voted in favour of civil partnerships and that he had changed his view on gay adoption.
“I now support gay adoption,” he said “The interests of the child come first. I think many gay couples would make excellent carers, parents.”
Following the Chris Grayling saga, David Cameron wrote on PinkNews.co.uk that he supported gay rights and promised to erase the criminal records of those who were convicted of gay sex acts that are now legal. But the policy wasn’t included in the main manifesto.
Mr Cameron wrote on PinkNews.co.uk: “I believe heart and soul in equality: the whole idea of prejudice towards people on the basis of their sexuality is quite wrong and that’s why I back civil partnerships, why I told the Tory conference that commitment through marriage was equally valid whether between a man and a woman, a man and a man or a woman and a woman – and it’s why a Conservative government will put new rules in place to tackle homophobia and support gay couples.”
Speaking to PinkNews.co.uk after the Conservatives did not include the pledge in their manifesto, gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell claimed the gay-friendly policy announcements were “an afterthought”.
The discussion relating to Mr Grayling’s views on homosexuality are contained 7minutes and 30seconds into the video below.