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London: Gay couple denied entry to bar despite being told ‘couples-only’

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  1. I’d be rivetted to know what happens when a mainly straight bar becomes filled with 70% heterosexual men: is there unstoppable fighting over the small pool of breeding females or something?

  2. Oh, get a grip, this isn’t homophobia. Lots of bars turn people away to keep the right mix of people inside – including gay bars refusing entry to straight people. It appears in this case that the bar wanted to get more girls in, hence turned away this couple. It happens. Get over it and go somewhere less pretentious.

    1. Why would straight people want to go into a gay bar? Those are our safe places, where we can know that everyone is, at the very least, bisexual.

      1. Plenty of straight people want go to gay bars.

  3. Even gay bars have done this on a few occasions.
    It’s not a straight club thing, just a club thing, and it needs to stop

    1. I don’t necessarily agree – if I wanted to go a bar or club aimed at gay men I wouldn’t be particularly happy to find it full of, say, hen parties or knots of aggressive non-gay men.

      1. Regardless, the law clearly states you cannot discriminate based on gender, sexuality, race, religion etc – so it is a two way thing. Anybody wishing to enter any bar should be permitted and only refused if they are causing trouble.

    2. de Villiers 11 Jan 2013, 9:15am

      It is illegal to discriminate against one of the defined protected grounds in the equality act 2010. One can discriminate legally on any ground not stated in that Equality. Act.

      1. The 9 protected statuses are gender, sexual orientation, gender re-assignment, age, marital / CP status, race, religion (or lack of), pregnancy and disability.

  4. it is typical to straight bar to do this to turn away gay people. for information the so called security guy is not the one to have the last decision and he can’t block customers to speak or complaint to the manager on the day if they wish to about the fact they are refused entry. only the manager got the last say as he is the security employer. it is pathetic this attitude but it is common from straight bars.

  5. not surprising coming from straight bar.. would like to clear a few point it is completely your right to ask to speak to the manager if you do not agree about the so called security. the security can’t refuse to call the manager if you request to speak to him or her. only the manager got the last word to refuse you or net entry to the premises as the manager is the security employer.

  6. Robert in S. Kensington 10 Jan 2013, 3:30pm

    I find it very bizarre why 70% of men is the cut off point. Why have any percentage favouring one gender over another. Makes absolutely no sense, rather absurd if you ask me.

  7. Sue the bastards

  8. I tend to be suspicuous of government-issued protocols on how we are to conduct our day-to-day affairs, but it’s episodes like this that remind me that the Equality Act is still very necessary to ensure that LGBT people are treated with dignity and respect. It’s very sad that we need such laws, though.

  9. Of course, enforcing a “no more than 70% male customer” ratio (if that’s true) is also unlawful discrimination no matter the sexuality of the customers.

    1. As a gay door supervisor, working at straight venues, it is not unusual to say ‘couples only’ when there is a very high proportion of men in bars/clubs. This is also used as a way to reduce the numbers of large groups of men. Sadly, I would like to be able to say that this is ridiculous and sexist, and everyone should be allowed in every club/bar at all times, however…… 15years of experience has taught me, if you mix too many straight guys and alcohol, they tend to become aggressive, girls tend to make them behave better and they concentrate on ‘pulling not fighting’ – also in reality if two groups of 5/6 men decide to fight or fall out you would need 5/6 security staff, at least to manage the situation safely – most small venues cannot provide that, so will reduce the number of all male large groups entering, and this is for the safety of the customers already in the venue. The stock response from straight guys when told couples only is “we are gay!” . If I had £1……..

      1. de Villiers 11 Jan 2013, 9:12am

        Perhaps – but the policy is unlawful If the reason for the refusal is that the person is male. Sex is a protected ground under the Equality Act and to treat a person less favourably because of their sex is what the law terms direct discrimination – for which there is no legal justification.

  10. It is illegal to discriminate aginst anybody. Straight people cannot be refused entry to Gay bars but generally once they discover they are in a gay bar they tend to leave anyway!

    1. “It is illegal to discriminate against anybody.”…? Not quite true as most bars discriminate against people under the age of 18 by refusing them entry, quite lawfully. Just saying, like.

      1. If discrimination exists in such a situation, it lies in the law not with the bars – you can’t say a bar manager is being discriminatory for complying with a law. It would only be discriminatory if some under-18s were allowed in and other weren’t.

      2. That is not the bar management discriminating, it is the law, and in this case the Equality Act 2010 makes specific exclusions, where it conflicts with the Licensing Act, the Age of Consent, voting law, driving, etc.

        Also since being under age is by definition a temporary state, you cannot compare it to being gay, which is, unless you believe the fundies, permanent.

  11. Officer Dribble 10 Jan 2013, 6:03pm

    I’m going to say something that might come across a little controversial – but here goes…

    Many straight club actually turn away group of blokes simply because they like to keep a balance between males and females.

    Simple fact is…when you get too many straight men in one place, they start to behave badly (watch any David Attenborough doc for evidence of this).

    It’s quite likely that the doormen were not actually being homophobic…just geezerphobic, as they had no way of knowing whether the two they turned away were genuinely a couple, or two straight lads trying it on.

    1. I seem to recall the oevre of David Attenborough being wildlife documentaries, not programmes about heterosexually inclined human males. Indeed, there is usually only one heterosexually inclined human male in any of his programmes – Sir David himself. And he never gets into much trouble.

      1. Officer Dribble 10 Jan 2013, 9:44pm


        If you’ve ever been to a straight club in Southend on a Friday night, you’ll know what I mean by ‘wildlife documentary’.

  12. This is completely unacceptable. Not just because it’s homophobic – which it is – but because it’s also arbitrary discrimination against single people. Even if the pair were allowed in there would still be a deeply unfair double-standard at work. I refuse to be discriminated against just because I am not in a relationship – married people’s tax benefits do that too much already thank you.

    This is both illegal and deeply shameful. Everyone has the right to use goods and services equally. There should be no exceptions based on these kinds of ridiculous prejudices.

  13. Spanner1960 10 Jan 2013, 11:39pm

    I wish people would get off their high horses and stop acting as armchair lawyers when you do not know the facts. There is no illegality going on her whatsoever.

    Under The Licensing Act 2003 a proprietor and/or licensee has every right to allow or bar ANYBODY they see fit from their premises without giving any reason whatsoever.
    This is a power given to them as holders of licenses to serve alcohol and/or allow dancing, gaming etc.

    It is also illegal to refuse to leave a licensed premises when ordered to do so by staff or police.

    1. de Villiers 11 Jan 2013, 12:58am

      It is unlawful pursuant to Equality Act 2010 section 29 which states:

      29 Provision of services, etc

      (1) A person (a “service-provider”) concerned with the provision of a service to the public or a section of the public (for payment or not) must not discriminate against a person requiring the service by not providing the person with the service.

      (2) A service-provider (A) must not, in providing the service, discriminate against a person (B)—
      (a) as to the terms on which A provides the service to B;
      (b) by terminating the provision of the service to B;
      (c) by subjecting B to any other detriment.

      1. Spanner1960 11 Jan 2013, 5:25pm

        The Licensing Act 2003 clearly states that licensees do not have to admit or serve anybody if such a situation can jeopardise the health and safety of that person, other customers or staff.

        This factor in itself would overrule any such provision of services legislation simply because the safety of the public is paramount, and if you tried to question that principle, you wouldn’t even make it to the courts.

        1. does being gay jeopardise the health and safety of the person, other customers and staff?? what your answer about it Mr or Mrs spanner1960

    2. de Villiers 11 Jan 2013, 12:59am

      31 Interpretation and exceptions
      (1) This section applies for the purposes of this Part.
      (2) A reference to the provision of a service includes a reference to the provision of goods or facilities.

      (6) A reference to a person requiring a service includes a reference to a person who is seeking to obtain or use the service.

      (7) A reference to a service-provider not providing a person with a service includes a reference to—
      (a) the service-provider not providing the person with a service of the quality that the service-provider usually provides to the public (or the section of it which includes the person), or
      (b) the service-provider not providing the person with the service in the manner in which, or on the terms on which, the service-provider usually provides the service to the public (or the section of it which includes the person).

    3. I have taken a course in Equality & Diversity, and have being on the management committee of two social clubs (licensed) for some time, so it is with some embarrassment that i say that this is a grey area.
      I have acted on the assumption that a bar manager / steward cannot serve an inebriated person with more alcohol, and can ask someone to leave / refuse entry on grounds of safety (if they are aggressive and/or drunk) and security (also if fire regs. as to maximum numbers in the building are breached).
      NOT purely because they are female / male, gay, black or too old / young.
      It is something I must look into, urgently, obviously!
      My current club has this month admitted females as full members for the first time, but we are a private members club (not that it excuses our indolence in reforming the rules).

  14. It’s not a pleasant thing to happen (and it certainly sounds as though it was badly handled) but, in the circumstances, I wonder why this male couple didn’t just call their female friends and ask them to come to the door and get them past the doorman.

  15. This was nothing to do with them being gay, loads of clubs only let in mixed gender groups ,which I know is still illegal. That’s all he would have meant by “couples only”.

  16. This is completey unlawful and they should sue. No messing about. Sometimes the best way to ensure your rights is to kick the enemy in the wallet.

  17. Clearly there is an issue with discrimination here be it based on gender or sexuality, however, apparently there is no statutory body that will deal with this, trading standards deny they have any jurisdiction and the EHRC will only take on vanity cases that are ‘hot topics’ of the season or race/religious issues – so much for equality. Seems no authority is willing to deal with this matter, including the local council.

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