Gay couple refused rental contract

Gay and lesbian couplesA lesbian couple from the Isle of Man, where homosexuality was illegal until 1992, are leading calls for legislative change after being refused rental accommodation because of their sexuality.

The couple were disgusted to find that discrimination of this kind was not against the law on the island, despite civil partnerships being legalised in April 2011.
Kira Izzard and Laura Cull, from Douglas, have therefore launched a petition calling for the introduction of the UK's Equality Act 2010 to protect gay people suffering similar problems in the future.

Speaking to Pink News, Cull said: "I was really upset and teary as we had our hearts set on that particular house. It is right next door to my sister and we could have literally watched my three-year-old nephew grow up.

"It then settled in that the reason we couldn't rent the house was because of the fact we are a same-sex couple and my sadness turned to a complete numbness as it never occurred to me that this would even be a factor in this day and age."

Their online campaign has already attracted the support of nearly a thousand people. Chief Minister of the Isle of Man, Allan Bell, is one of the many to back the couple.

"I am extremely disappointed that this type of ugly, outdated prejudice survives after all the work that has been done over the past 20 years or so to make the island a more tolerant place," he told the BBC.

"An Equality Bill, based on the UK Equality Act 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."

Rob McDowall, who chairs the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender network (LGBT), has also written to Isle of Man politicians to raise his concerns about the way Izzard and Cull were treated, while they in turn have promised to ensure that gay people are better protected in the future.

* If you feel you have been discriminated against, advice charity Citizens Advice is a good first port of call. You can also find out more about your rights by visiting this government-run website.

The five worst holiday disasters
See Gallery
Gay couple refused rental contract

If you are a victim of a strike, or any other event beyond the airline's control (including ash clouds!), they must offer you a refund (in which case it's up to you to find a way home) or an alternative flight. While you are waiting for the flight you have the right to food and refreshment and accommodation.

If you are on a package holiday, your tour operator is entirely responsible for looking after you until you get back to the UK.

This is more likely to happen due to the financial crisis, but in some situations you are covered. 

If you pay by credit card and it's over £100, you'll get a refund from the card company. 

Your travel insurance may well cover you too, but check before you go.  

Talk to the airline, and if it is temporarily misplaced they should arrange for it to be sent to your accommodation, and you should be either given cash to cover the essentials in the interim.

If it's completely lost you must wait 21 days and then make a claim for compensation. If you are travelling as part of a package you can claim costs from your operator.

If you are travelling within the EU you need an EHIC card, which gives you access to public healthcare. However, this won't necessarily be free, and if you need extra services such as accommodation for a carer, a helicopter home or a delayed flight, you could end up seriously out of pocket.

The only protection that will guarantee you will be looked after without running up a horrendous debt is by having travel insurance - which often covers up to £10 million of costs.

The most common form of theft is pick-pocketing, followed by theft from a car and bag snatching. Meanwhile, 752,000 of those surveyed had items stolen from their hotel room or villa.

If you have anything stolen, your only protection is insurance. You need to tell the local police immediately and get a crime reference for your travel insurer.

More stories
Read Full Story