OK, let's cut to the chase - the debate about the sexual orientation regulations (one of the most vicious and homophobic debates in recent times) comes down - after you've sifted through the lies, exaggerations and misrepresentations (including some senior and - one might have thought/hoped - intelligent people) to 3 main areas of concern.
Guesthouses Same sex couples might sleep in the same bed. Woopy-do! Notice how a certain religious mind gets drawn immediately into sex. Who's doing it, how often and with whom - their lives must be so boring that they can't stop obsessing and filling every waking hour with the thought someone might be having moments of closeness and tenderness (which may or not invovle sex). They can't conceive of the fact that the two people concerned may be experiencing some degree of closeness and maybe they went to Bournemouth (Filey, Harrogate, Swansea, Eastbourne .....) to attend a wedding/funeral/Civil Partnership/ visit relatives/have a short weekend break.
Maybe - if attending a "Chrsitian" B+B they will experience the warmth and kindness of the proprietors and start thinking about the gospels and think about things like prayer and going to church. Maybe the proprietor is surprise to find they quite like the people they're recieving as paying guests and find that God is saying something to them and letting them think again about some of their pre-conceptions about life (always one of life's richest rewards).
Instead they want to be allowed to put up a sign saying "No gays" or "No same sex couples". A 16 year old boy walks past the sign on his way back from school after experiencing homophobic abuse and learns a lesson about society - from Christians.
Printers Does anyone know any Christian printers? [There may be Christians who work in printing, but a specifically Christian printer.....] If you're arranging a Gay Pride event (or anythign for that matter) you want a printer you can rely on. Someone who will deliver on time and do a good quality of work. You are not going to seek out, deliberatly, a printer who finds it difficult to do the work.
Back in the real world - maybe a Christian would be glad of the work. In any case, printers can always turn down work or recommend another printer.
Schools People might be forced to teach that Civil Partnerships exist for same sex couples.... Well, excuse me but they do exist. What kind of education is it that spends about 10 years shielding young people from what exists. Well, they know that LGB people exist, that Civil Partnerships are possible (why not inform young citizens of their rights under the law?). What they learn is not the ignorance aimed at - they know these things - but a very important lesson - there's an unspoken law about talking about Civil Partnerships and being gay or lesbian.
Isn't it time we broke out of this?
The view opposing the regulations on sexual orientation - apart from being incredibly crude and exaggerated want a kind of society where love and tenderness between two people is despised, where a culture of fear is cultivated and where the law of silence reigns.
The Equality Act passed in 2006 and the promised Single Equality Act (can't come soon enough) are about, must be about, making people equal, doing away with inequality.
Religions may lag behind - let them have freedom of religion, conscience, speech and association, but we are surely coming to a time when wanton and unchecked discrimination and all the misery that brings, whether disablism, racism, sexism or homophobia get to be honestly tackled and thos who would perpetrate it are told - politely - that equality is the birthright of all citizens.