South Africa: Homosexual Discrimination Against Heterosexuals and Women “Necessary” for Democracy

By Gudrun Schultz

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, June 27, 2006 ( – It’s okay for guest houses catering to a homosexual clientele to discriminate against heterosexual couples, women, and lesbians, the Commission on Gender Equality ruled recently, saying it is a “necessity in our democratic society.”

The Human Rights Commission received an official complaint against two Amsterdam guest houses over a year ago, stating that the resorts were billed as “men only.” The Gay and Lesbian Alliance initiated the action after claiming to receive 107 complaints of discrimination from women, lesbians and heterosexual couples who had been turned away, Pretoria News reported yesterday.

The complaint was referred to the Commission on Gender Equality, which determined that the guest houses were operating within their rights when they specified “men only,” saying they were “serving a legitimate interest in…that they seek to create a comfortable environment for gay men where they can express themselves freely.”

“It is the commission’s view that accommodation of this nature is necessary in our democratic society to protect or advance legitimate interests of the aforementioned groups.”

The only objection raised by the commission was the use of the term “men only” in the resorts’ advertising and website, which they said could be offensive.

“With regard to the manner in which it advertises its business and with specific reference to the words ‘men only’, the commission submits that the advert in its current format may not pass constitutional scrutiny.”

“The advert as it stands is offensive and is likely to attract some criticism.”

The Commission on Gender Equality aims to transform society, says South Africa’s information website, by “exposing gender discrimination in laws, policies and practices; advocating changes in sexist attitudes and gender stereotypes; and instilling respect for women’s rights as human rights.”


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