By Hilary White

  LONDON, February 2, 2007 ( – Hoteliers who cater exclusively to homosexual clientele are demanding an exemption to the UK’s soon to be enacted Sexual Orientation Regulations. They want to be allowed to refuse heterosexual customers. The gay-only hotel business represents a significant portion of Britain’s tourism industry and some are complaining that a ban on gay-only advertising could put them out of business.

  The new rules will forbid anyone who provides goods or services from refusing customers on grounds of sexuality. The Times quotes the owner and proprietor of a men-only bed and breakfast hotel who calls the new laws “discrimination against gays”. 

  Mark Hurst, proprietor of Guyz hotel, in Blackpool told the Times, “It’s not all good news at all. I don’t welcome it one little bit. We intend to stay ‘men only’ exclusively for as long as we can.” Mr. Hurst said that when the law comes into effect, he would be applying for an exemption. He said, “At the end of the day, this is our home and as a landlord we have the right to refuse entry to anyone without giving a reason.”

  The complaints come at a time when the Blair Labour government has been through two weeks of controversy in which the Catholic Church, the Church of England, Muslim and Jewish groups and even the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland have denounced the law as infringing on rights of religious expression.

  In the face of demands for an exemption for Catholic adoption agencies, the government insisted this week that there could never be any exceptions. It remains to be seen if the gay community will receive an exemption on the same grounds with gay-only tourism business being worth as much as £3.5 billion a year to the British economy.