The mantras ‘all belong’, ‘inclusion and respect’ espoused by Airbnb have been undermined by a new pledge the online accommodation provider is compelling all users sign.
Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton believes the pledge, or community commitment, to accept LGBTI beliefs does not achieve its stated goal of inclusion because of the many Airbnb hosts and guests who hold different views on issues such as sexuality, gender identity and marriage.
“The decision by Airbnb to dictate that all its users pledge support to the LGBTI rainbow ideology will alienate many who do not want to be coerced into rules about how they use their own homes,” Mr Shelton said.
“Airbnb takes the high ground in claiming that it is being inclusive of all, but in reality it is excluding those with different views such as Christians, Muslims or non-religious people who simply believe in marriage between one man and one woman.
“It’s not that Airbnb shouldn’t have the right to run their business according to their conscience or beliefs – they should simply be honest about who they are including or excluding. They are excluding those who wish to follow the dictates of their conscience when it comes to sharing their homes.”
Mr Shelton said Airbnb was joining a growing lists of corporations that were taking direction from the rainbow political movement and coercing staff, clients or suppliers to share their ideology.
Mr Shelton highlighted the apparent double standards when it comes to letting businesses operate according to their conscience.
“Business should have the ability to determine how they operate and who their clients are,” he said.
“Conscience clearly matters in business but not all companies have equal right to exercise their conscience.
“While we see organisations like Airbnb acting according to their conscience and beliefs without retribution, it has long been known that those providing services to the wedding industry do not have the same protections and are being compelled to provide services or face prosecution.
“The recent Ashers Bakery decision from Northern Ireland shows how Christians are forced by law even to create political messages against their conscience.
“In 2014 the Christian Youth Camps case saw a Victorian campsite successfully sued for seeking to run their business according to their conscience.
“Australian dissenters to same-sex marriage have cause for concern should the law ever change here because state-based anti-discrimination laws will outlaw any contrary views,” he said.
“There is a long list of people in the US, UK and Canada who have been fined, hauled before courts and demonised out of their jobs for their belief that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Mr Shelton said.
“Here in Tasmania Archbishop Julian Porteous spent six months tied up in legal action before the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission after Australian Marriage Equality urged people to complain about his teaching on marriage.
“Freedom is already being affected in Australia even before the law has been changed. What will it be like if it ever does change?”