Legislation to outlaw homophobic discrimination in Isle of Man to be accelerated after lesbian couple prevented from
renting a house

Chief Minister to speed up law to outlaw homophobic discrimination after church leader refuses pair a flat

Legislation to outlaw homophobic discrimination on the Isle of Man will be accelerated after a gay couple were told they could not rent a house together.

The island’s Chief Minister Alan Bell moved to limit any damage to the jurisdiction’s international reputation following fury at a church leader’s refusal to allow two women to move into a flat together on the grounds that the couple did not constitute a “family”.

Mr Bell described the beliefs of the Independent Methodist Church - of which the landlord of the property in Ramsey was a member - as “bigoted” and warned that the row threatened to reverse two decades in which the island has battled to leave behind its pariah status among the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender communities.

Homosexuality was illegal under Manx law until 1992. The row erupted last week when Kira Izzard and Laura Cull were refused permission to rent a flat next door to Ms Cull’s sister and her three-year-old son.

She said they felt “numb” on learning that they had been legally declined the tenancy. “I was so shocked to hear this and felt sick as I didn’t know where to go or what to do as I didn’t have a legal leg to stand on,” she said.

The couple, who have been together for four years, were told that even though the Isle of Man had enacted the Civil Partnership Act it had yet to ratify an Equality Bill which would make it illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation.

The local minister who refused the tenancy application defended his action.

Keith Price said: “We are not homophobic but we do have a stance on the sexuality." He added: “We believe that God has a plan for our lives within the context of marriage, the scripture is quite clear in its teaching on this.”

Mr Bell described the decision as “ugly, outdated prejudice” but admitted that nothing could be done about it.

“I do believe that our society today is generally much more tolerant than it used to be. But this incident shows that there are still isolated pockets of bigotry that can only be tackled through legislation. An Equality Bill, based on the UK Equality Act of 2010, is already in the drafting process and will deal with discrimination of this kind. I have asked that preparation of this legislation be accelerated,” he said.

Ms Izzard welcomed the official response to their plight after they were inundated with support on social network sites after launching an on-line petition demanding a change in the law.

“We’re over the moon that we’ve been heard by so many people and that the government are taking this matter seriously and accelerating the process,” she said.

 Rob McDowall, the Chair of the LGBT Network which helped co-ordinate the campaign described it as a historic moment for LGBT rights in the Isle of Man.

“Discrimination in all its forms is intolerable and I am delighted the Chief Minister agrees and has pledged his commitment to speeding up the legislative process to realise equality for the Isle of Man’s LGBTQ community,” he said.

As a Crown dependency the Isle of Man is able to pass its own primary legislation although it is contracted within the European Convention on Human Rights. However, a number of male homosexual acts remain illegal under Manx law including consensual sex between men aboard a merchant ship.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
books
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, RSPSS, R, AI, CPLEX, SQL)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Chosen to lead the women's wing of the ruling Zanu-PF, the wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding the 90-year old
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model of a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution