Sexual orientation and gender identity
Sexual orientation and gender identity

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Sexual orientation and gender identity

2.3 A current issue: conflicting rights

A recurrent issue for the law is how to balance conflicting rights. One of the main areas where this currently arises in relation to the legal treatment of homosexuals is in relation to the balance between their rights and the rights of those whose religious, or other strongly held, beliefs potentially conflict with the rights of homosexuals. A recent legal case which attracted considerable media interest was the dispute between a Christian couple and a gay couple who wanted to stay at the Christian couple’s bed and breakfast establishment (B&B).

Activity 8: Gay rights versus religious rights

You should allow yourself 20 minutes to complete this activity.

Watch ‘Gay couple win B&B damages claim [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ’ (BBC News, 2012).

In the video you heard from the gay couple, John Morgan and Michael Black; you also heard the views of Mike Judge from the Christian Institute.

Do you think that the court achieved the appropriate balance between the rights of the couple and the rights of the B&B owners?

Your reasons

Give reasons for your answer.

In giving reasons consider whether:

  • religious beliefs should also be viewed as more important than the right not to be discriminated against, or
  • the right not to be discriminated against should always be viewed as more important than religious beliefs, or
  • cases should be decided on their facts and that sometimes where rights conflict (in cases such as this one) respecting religious beliefs should be the main concern of the law, while sometimes it should be protecting people from discrimination.

If you chose option 3, you should explain what principles should be adopted to decide which option should be followed.

You can type text here, but this facility requires a free OU account. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus