Scotland Equalities Commission concludes ‘heterosexual friendly’ bed and breakfast case

Published: 15 Jun 2017

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in Scotland has reached a successful conclusion in its case against the owners of a bed and breakfast. The EHRC had received several complaints about the Cromasaig Bed and Breakfast website, which previously stated it is a 'heterosexual friendly bed and breakfast'.

The website also contained a pictoral version of the statement 'man + woman = marriage'. The Commission was concerned that these statements were potentially discriminatory. 

The EHRC wrote to the owners asking them to remove these phrases from their website. The phrases were not removed and so the Commission asked the Court for an order to require that the phrasing be removed.

The owners of Cromasaig Bed and Breakfast have now voluntarily removed the phrases and the Court action has therefore been halted.

Commenting on the case, Lynn Welsh, Head of Legal in Scotland, said:

“I am pleased that the owners of Cromasaig Bed and Breakfast have agreed to remove these phrases. Removing the phrases will have no negative impact on their business, and alleviates EHRC’s concerns."

Although the case has concluded successfully, the case raises questions surrounding the continued prevalence of homophobic discrimination which exists in Scotland. Despite the recent Scottish social attitudes survey suggesting a sharp reduction in negative attitudes towards LGBT people.

Recent research from Stonewall Scotland suggests that:

  • one in six (16 per cent) LGBT people say they have experienced poor treatment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity when accessing a public service in the last three years
  • one in eight (12 per cent) LGBT people have had a negative experience, which they felt to be related to their sexual orientation or gender identity, when accessing sport and leisure facilities
  • more than a third (35 per cent) of trans people have had a negative experience, which they felt was related to their gender identity when using parks and open spaces.

Notes to editors

The Commission has a number of powers in cases like these, which we use to change behaviour in society and to prevent and stop unlawful actions through working with individuals and organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

We do this to improve equality, human rights and good relations in society. Helping people and organisations comply with legislation is the main focus of this work.

For more press information and interviews contact Chris Oswald on 0141 228 5964.