Hospitality operators will be banned from refusing customers on grounds of their sexual orientation after a last ditch bid to block new gay equality laws failed in the House of Lords.
Peers voted against an amendment to throw out the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations, from, by 168 votes to 122 - a majority of 46.
Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly hailed new gay equality laws as "major step forward".
She said the measures, which will come into affect in April, would deliver "dignity, respect and fairness for all".
"It cannot be right in a decent, tolerant society that a shopkeeper or restaurant can refuse to serve a customer because they are gay."
By Kerstin Kühn
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