Airbnb wants us to think it stands for letting people use their property as they see fit. After all, company and its popular platform for short-term home rentals sued the State of New York less than two weeks ago because of a new law passed due to “pressure from hotel lobbyists” that restricted how certain property owners advertised their units.
However, Airbnb enacted new guidelines today that say those very property owners aren’t allowed to make their own decisions on how their homes are used, especially if they object to certain lifestyles that Airbnb considers “protected.” In an email to users, the company told customers that it will be prompting all users to make a “Community Commitment” pledge to follow these guidelines; failure to do so will prevent future use of Airbnb’s services.
As we’ve come to expect in 2016, “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are now two of the characteristics that Airbnb considers to constitute a “protected class.” Because of this, the new guidelines specifically target the religious beliefs of hosts in the determination of how they do business on their property.
Keep in mind, many hosts remain in their homes while guests are on the property and Airbnb provides that these hosts may “make a unit available to guests of the host’s gender and not the other, where the host shares living spaces with the guest.” This means that a woman, living by herself, could decline to rent to a man on the basis of his gender. Incredibly, however, that same woman would be prohibited from declining to rent to a man who “identifies” as a woman.
Like so many other companies such as Target, who are carrying the water for the LGBT movement, Airbnb is implementing policies that defy common sense and reasonable safety considerations in the name of “inclusivity.”
Ironically, Airbnb holds that one class may impose their beliefs, be they religious or otherwise, on their guests: vegetarians! According to the Nondiscrimination Policy:
“Airbnb hosts may…require guests to respect restrictions on foods consumed in the listing (e.g., a host who maintains a Kosher or vegetarian kitchen may require guests to respect those restrictions).”
Apparently for Airbnb, vegan sensibilities are a much higher priority than your religious beliefs or safety.