Discriminatory retirement home loses funding; Daily Mail blames the lesbians.
Laura // 28 December 2008
Were you not familiar with the Daily Mail’s particular brand of fact-contorting bigotry, you’d be forgiven for coming away from this article with the impression that elderly women at Brighton’s Pilgrim Home for retired Christian missionaries were being forced to admit to a penchant for filthsome girl-on-girl action in order that their home continue to receive funding from the local council:
Home for retired missionaries loses grant – because it won’t ask residents if they are lesbians.
A care home where elderly Christian residents refused to answer ‘intrusive’ questions about their sexuality is at the centre of a bitter legal battle after its council grant was axed…
According to the Mail, the home’s owners were forced to ask residents if they were gay, lesbian, bisexual or unsure in order to comply with the Equality Act. When staff and residents objected, Brighton and Hove Council cruelly cut £13,000 worth of funding for warden services. The fascists.
However, read to the end of the article, and you find that the Council ‘never expected any residents to answer questions about their sexuality if they preferred not to do so’. Funding was withdrawn not because the Home’s owners and residents took a stand against state interference, red tape, PC-nonsense yadda yadda, but because, in keeping with the organisation’s particular brand of Christianity, the management failed to ensure that the Home’s services could be used by gay and lesbian individuals:
‘The Government specifically states the home must be open to the gay and lesbian community and that it must demonstrate this to qualify for funding. In the absence of any willingness to do this, funding has been withdrawn.’
And quite rightly so: no one has challenged the Home’s right to exist, homophobic as its management may well be, the Council simply ensured that public money was not spent on it. Seeing as the public includes individuals who aren’t heterosexual, it would be unfair to use this money to fund an establishment which appears to unfairly exclude sections of the public who could potentially benefit from its services.
Of course, the Mail and the Home’s management package this up as anti-Christian discrimination, the latter accusing the Council of “religious intolerance”. As far as I can see, the only intolerance is coming from those who view homosexuality as some kind of hideous insult they should never be forced to confront:
‘There was a strong feeling among people in the home that the questions were inappropriate and intrusive. They felt they had come to Pilgrim Homes because of its Christian ethos and were upset they were not protected from such intrusions.’