Pub ban on gay kisses is illegal under equality laws

John Snow pub, 39 Broadwick Street, W1
Banning gay kisses is illegal under equality laws



“The gay couple evicted for kissing in the John Snow pub in Soho appear to have a strong legal case against the landlord. Under the equality laws, discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal. I doubt the pub would have forced out a kissing heterosexual couple,” said human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“Jonathan Williams and James Bull were not behaving indecently or committing any kind of sex act. There was no groping. It was just a kiss on the lips, like straight couples do every day. If the landlord cannot prove that heterosexual couples are also ejected for kissing, the pub is guilty of unlawful discrimination. Businesses that provide a service to the public have a duty under the law to not discriminate. The Peter Tatchell Foundation will support the two men if they decide to pursue legal action. There is nothing obscene about gay or straight kissing.

“People who discriminate need to be held to account. Non-discrimination is vital for social cohesion and good community relations. It is a human rights issue.

“This incident underscores the unacceptable level of homophobia that still exists in parts of the capital. There are hundreds of homophobic hate crimes every year in London, including the murder of Ian Baynham in Trafalgar Square in a frenzied anti-gay attack in 2009 and the recent plastering of East London with stickers declaring it a ‘Gay-Free Zone’. This homophobia needs to be challenged.

“Although much of London is gay-friendly, the apparent discrimination against Jonathan and James shows that pockets of prejudice remain, even in gay Soho. We need to ensure that the whole of London is welcoming and safe for all Londoners, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” he said.

Mr Tatchell was speaking ahead of tonight’s gay kiss-in protest on Friday 15 April at 7pm in the John Snow pub, 39 Broadwick Street, Soho, London W1 – the pub that evicted the gay couple, James Bull and Jonathan Williams for kissing, on Wednesday 13 April.

See details on the Gay Kiss-In Facebook group:

Read this coverage of what happened to Jonathan and James: