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Gay couple will decide next week whether to sue B&B owners

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  1. What the hell kind of gay people are sending the B&B owners supportive emails?

  2. I really hope they do. This B&B couple shouldn’t be allowed to get away with how they treat people. Someone needs to stand up and show this is wrong.

  3. It’s really amazing just how much support the Christian couple has been getting. Even though they clearly broke the law, many people are still on their side.

  4. They broke the law and they should suffer the consequences.

    I really do hope the gay couple will decide to take legal action for the sake of all those other gay couples out there, some of whom will be more vulnerable and more easily victimised. If they take no action it will be a green light for ‘no gays’ signs on doors to businesses around the country.

  5. sue sue sue. close them down. if they had turned away a black couple, or a muslim couple, then they would have probably been burnt down or blown up by now.
    vile bigoted christians who judge others to be evil when they have done nothing wrong have no place in a modern society. and we as a community need to act on these issues, instead of supporting our oppressors (like some idiots that leave messages on pink news do).

  6. Message to the gay couple concerned:

    If you take this matter to court make SURE you have a damned good solicitor, somebody well-known, with a proven record in defending civil liberties. You need someone like Michael Mansfield QC!

    Secondly, I saw your review of the Cookham Bigots’ B&B on TripAdvisor. Do you know it was taken down? That’s a separate issue, I know, but it just goes to show how the homophobes cooperate with each other.

    We need to stand up to them. I hope you do. But if you do, make sure you’ve got the excellent representation I mention above.

    Get advice. Consult. Go to Stonewall, if you haven’t already. And remember there are some excellent barristers who believe so passionately in matters such as this that they don’t charge the earth!

    Good luck.

  7. Jemma Haynes 8 Apr 2010, 8:35pm

    Oh more people who will sue trying to get some money out of a situation!

  8. Well this being a matter of civil law as the police have said the only action available is to sue Jemma Haynes of LGBTory. As you have said in another thread, your a solicitor from Milton Keynes so you should know the difference between the two by now.

  9. Simon Murphy 8 Apr 2010, 10:18pm

    “Jemma Haynes of LGBTory. As you have said in another thread, your a solicitor from Milton Keynes so you should know the difference between the two by now.”

    Well I suppose if she’s a member of LGBTory then there’s quite a lot of things she doesn’t understand.

    Like how she can support a party whose Shadow Home Secretary is secretly recorded expressing his support for commercial businesses to display ‘No Gays’ signs.

  10. My advice is that they should not sue. For a start there’s no guarantee of winning. Secondly, at present LGBTs are seen as the victims of prejudice, but if Michael & John sue the Wilkinsons there will be a public backlash against gay people. The Wilkinsons will be presented as heroes by the right-wing press and the result is that it will do more harm than good. Only the lawyers are certain to gain out of the litigation.

    However the current situation cannot be allowed to stand forever. After all this publicity, no B&B in Britain could possibly be unaware of the law. So if the same thing happens a second time …. there’s no option but to sue.

  11. Please for all the good in this world, let them know this is not okay. As a business, if you advertise a service, you make that offer to everyone.

  12. The comment from the B&B owners that says: “We believe we have a robust argument and hope the judge will agree,”

    Its not a case of the judge agreeing with them its about what the law says in The Equality Act 2006. It clearly makes it illegal to refuse people goods and services on the grounds of sexual orientation. The only help the judge could give the B&B owners is to rule this case is covered by criminal and not civil law. Such a ruling would see the B&B owners arrested and charged for the offence.

    The police have left the couple no choice but to protect their rights via the civil courts. Anyone in the legal profession would take this case on a no win no fee basis as its a guaranteed payout for the mental torment and the discrimination of the couple. I would say a payout of around £5000 between the two and a award of costs is likely.

    The law gives the Judge no room to make any personal opinions in this case.

  13. I find it disgusting that LGBT people are writing in support of the Wilkinsons. They were guilty of discrimination and as such, should “face the music”. I also find it disgusting that any politician would be backing something such as “No Gays” signs. What on earth is going on? We have made so much progress, now, over the last couple of years, all the nutters seem to be coming out of the woodwork–on both sides of the Atlantic!

  14. I hoe the gay couple in question do take this to court. As for Jemma Haynes of LGBTory, her comment (above) becomes truly disgusting if she’s actually a solicitor and an LGBT person, rather than just a troll.

  15. If they don’t sue they will be letting us all down and the so called Christains will be rubbing there hands thinking that God was on their side all the way. Prove that he wasn’t and sue.

  16. PS Jay when you say that if they had been Black or a Muslim couple “then they would have probably been burnt down or blown up by now” is totally offensive and racist. Black and Muslim LGBT people experience more discrimination because of views like yours: think and change.

  17. This is a clear case of illegal homophobic discrimination. Let’s hope Michael and John take action with the best lawyers they can find and fight this ‘we are oppressed’ argument from right-wing Christian fundamentalists which undermines people’s human rights and is an attack on all LGBT people, including those who have Christian faith. Jesus would weep.

    This case is made so much worse by the complete failure of the Tory party to defend and support this gay couple. Chris Grayling has not been sacked – or even disciplined – for his blatant homophobia – just old homophobe William Hague saying what a jolly good bloke he is and grinning: a complete disgrace. Any LGBT people defending the B&B owners or the Tories are expressing self hatred and need to deal with themselves.

    DAVE’S MASK FALLS
    If you want to vote Tory (or if you want a laugh) check out Dave’s mask fall on gay rights in this interview with Gay Times: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBlDfp85gP8

    PROTEST AGAINST TORY HOMOPHOBIA:
    Come protest at this kiss-in this Sunday at Conservative HQ, 30 Millbank, London, SW1P 4DP (nearest tube, Westminster). Map here: http://www.multimap.com/maps/?qs=SW1+4DP&countryCode=GB#map=51.49282,-0.12583|16|4&bd=useful_information&loc=GB:51.49273:-0.12594:16|SW1P%204DP|SW1P%204DP and more details here: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=541412795#!/event.php?eid=110970195595502&ref=mf

  18. I agree with all those people above urging Michael and John to take this matter to court.

    Dave @ #10 wrote: “if Michael & John sue the Wilkinsons there will be a public backlash against gay people. The Wilkinsons will be presented as heroes by the right-wing press and the result is that it will do more harm than good.”

    The above comment represents a fear of the worst possible outcome.

    When you go into court to fight a case you must keep in your mind’s eye the best possible outcome, and the best possible outcome (which we have to trust in) is that the court will insist that the terms of the law must be upheld. If we can’t trust in that outcome, then we might all just as well go and slash our wrists right now for we are nothing but diseased dogs to be turned away by whoever wishes to do so to us.

    IF the law is not upheld and if the Cookham Bigots are not found guilty then we had better know that result. Dave says there could be a backlash and much harm will be done to gays and lesbians. If so, let that be! Let the boil come to the surface. We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to this incident. We MUST broach it.

    Let the festering homophobia bubble up to the surface, let there be a backlash (if indeed the homophobia of this country is that extensive), and let’s DEAL WITH IT.

    Let the reality of Britain BE SEEN FOR WHAT IT IS, whatever that is. We need to TEST the legislation that has been put in place. If it is useless legislation then we need to KNOW.

    You don’t make progress and you don’t protect yourself by being frightened to stick up for yourself.

    If the current legislation is a sham and if we are NOT actually protected at all, then we all need to KNOW! Then we can set about changing the law.

    Michael and John, please go ahead. Enlist the services of a fine and well-known barrister and then tell us about it, impress us with you you have got on board, and then call on the gay community for donations. We will assist you if we think you are preparing yourselves professionally. Please consult and get advice from experts in the field. Go to Stonewall for a start. Get ideas.

  19. It would be wonderful if the guys won their case and then made this couple pay any fines to a gay charity!!! :-)

  20. If this “Christian” couple feel so strongly about the matter, why didn’t they make it clear on their website or when taking the booking (as a B&B run by and for gay people almost certainly would?

    By accepting an advance they committed themselves to honouring a reservation, and by reversing it for reasons that can only be seen as discriminatory surely broke the law.

  21. Jack Holroyde 9 Apr 2010, 1:19pm

    Why are they making a civil case?
    Under the goods & services act, the B&B owners have directly discriminated against the couple – which is a criminal, not a civil matter.
    While you CAN sue for a criminal case, why isn’t the CPS pursuing the owners for a breach of equalities legislation?
    The business should be fined and monitored. If they do it again, it’s within the scope of the law to send them to prison.

    Homophobia is illegal. The state should persue it and NOT require the person discriminated against to deal with it themselves through civil proceedings!

    Jack Holroyde,
    Gay/Trans Rights Activist

  22. Bryan Manley-Green 9 Apr 2010, 2:39pm

    I’ve just bumped into a friend who runs a B&B here in Birmingham and asked if he’d turn away Christians. Yeah, right, as if. I’ve just had a look on their website http://www.swissbedandbreakfast.co.uk which starts with the words “A warm and friendly welcome awaits all guests”. If nothing else, they can be done under the Trades Descriptions Act!

  23. Bryan – Of course they don’t mention anything about not welcoming everyone on their site – that would put people off, wouldn’t it? Here’s what I think. If outfits like this are to be given a free pass when it comes to anti-discrimination laws, they should at the very least be required to indicate on all their advertising exactly who is and isn’t welcome. Let them put their prejudices in black and white so everyone knows up front exactly what sort of people they’d be giving their business to.

  24. He added: “Personally I would like this to become a matter of debate leading up to the election.”

    I smell a future media whore and a possible messiah complex.

  25. You shouldn’t have to sue the Christian b&b owners. The Christians are guilty of a criminal act by not treating a gay couple in the same way they would treat any other couple, and it should be a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service.

  26. Bryan Manley-Green, thank you for reminding us of the Cookham Bigots’ website. I sent them a message via their Contact page on the day their bigotry hit the news. They then took their Contact page down.

    THEIR CONTACT PAGE IS NOW WORKING AGAIN.

    I have just sent them the following message and would recommend other PinkNews readers send something similar and make a note in your diaries to re-send at regular intervals.

    The Cookham Bigots require education.

    ————————————————–

    Dear Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson,

    Contrary to your beliefs, gay, lesbian, and transgender people are no more dogs to be turned away by you than are disabled people, Jewish people, Irish people, deaf people, blind people, or black people.

    You have earned yourselves an appalling reputation amongst people who do not suffer from bigotry and homophobia.

    ———————————————–

  27. I have received a short reply from my above email to the Cookham Bigots via their website.

    ———————————————–
    Dear Eddy
    Your rant is unfounded. We do not turn away any of the above. But we do draw a line at their respective activities in our family home. Is that so outrageous? God bless you, Mike & Susanne

    ———————————————–

    I have responded as follows:

    ———————————————–

    Dear Mr and Mrs. Wilkinson,

    With regard to gay and lesbian customers, you
    have said, below, that you draw the line at “their
    respective activities in [your] family home”.

    What activities are these?

    How do you know what “activities” your guests
    may engage in the privacy of your rooms?

    You seem to be convinced that gay and lesbian
    people engage in activities which heterosexual
    people do not. This is simply not the case.

    You seem to be convinced that gay and lesbian
    people do not book into accommodation in order
    to have somewhere to sleep and that that is
    precisely what they will do: sleep.

    You seem to suffer from fearful unfounded
    worst-possible-scenario impressions of people
    who are gay or lesbian.

    Lastly, as I am sure many have pointed out to
    you already, if you wish to run a business you
    can no longer, for the purposes of that business,
    deem your premises “a family home”, as you
    have described it. When you took the decision
    to provide a business service from your home,
    your home became the site of a business. As
    the site of a business, you forfeit the right to
    uphold your personal likes and dislikes and must
    make your business freely and genuinely
    available to all members of the public. To do
    otherwise is discriminatory.

    You remain of course at liberty to believe in any
    religion or cult you wish. The world is full of
    literally thousands of different religions and cults.
    The members of such belief systems cannot
    however apply the beliefs of such systems to
    public life. The state decides what conduct we
    may all engage in publically. The state decides
    what Jews, Scientologists, Muslims, Christians,
    Seventh Day Adventists, and so on, must
    observe in terms of public behaviour. And all
    members of the state, regardless of their belief
    system, must abide by the law.

    Yours sincerely,
    Eddy.

    ———————————————–

    Following the above, this morning I bumped into two neighbours with whom I have been friendly for about six years. I told them about the matter. They immediately said they were in support of the Cookham Bigots. (Yes, in spite of the fact that they have been friendly for six years with me and my partner!) We had a discussion and during it emerged that they believe that:

    a. You aren’t gay or lesbian, you are just a person who has chosen “the gay or lesbian lifestyle”. Of course, I responded by making it plain to them that we don’t CHOOSE to be gay or lesbian, but we ARE gay or lesbian, just as some people ARE white or ARE black. They refused to change their minds and I believe the reason is that many people in heterosexuals KNOW that they have chosen to deny their true sexuality and they have chosen to live out their lives in heterosexual relationships. This is where they get the idea that everyone CHOOSES whether to be gay or straight. As for these neighbours, she does all the manual work inside and outside the house, wears trousers at all times, and he never does an ounce of work but sits inside reading about art and watching the sort of things on TV that appeal to gay men! It’s highly likely they are a couple of homosexuals who have CHOSEN to live as heterosexuals . . . out of cowardice.

    b. Christians should have the right to live according to the word of the scriptures and the scriptures say homosexuality is wrong. I responded to this by asking where they drew the line because the scriptures say that adultresses should be stoned to death.

    The conversation ended when I invited them to consider how my partner and I would feel if we turned up to a B&B at 10pm on a Saturday night only to be turned away because it was obvious we were a gay couple. Their response to this was that I was just being melodramatic. But I stuck to my guns and said, “NO! You are Christians. You’re supposed to put yourselves in the other person’s shoes! Imagine how YOU would feel turning up at any business and being turned away simply because of something in your make-up over which you have no control – your sexuality, your skin-colour, whether you can hear or not, whether you’re in a wheelchair, and so on . . . ”

    It became clear to me this morning that we gays and lesbians can think we’ve got good straight friends BUT when you really open up an issue you find they actually think of you as second-rate or worse.

  28. “But we do draw a line at their respective activities in our family home”

    Eddy, I liked your reply to that.

    It shows once again that some Christians are obsessed with sex. Presumably the B and B owners have a checklist of sexual activities that are acceptable to them that ALL guests must tick before booking in? Presumably they also ban divorcees?

  29. Iris, thanks for saying the above.

    As of this moment, no reply from the Wilkinsons. Will update this thead if any is received.

  30. Thanks, Eddy. It’s the hypocrisy of some religious people that really gets to me. I’d prefer it if people admitted their prejudices honestly rather than pretending they’ve got some kind of religious reason behind them.

  31. Iris, I have still received no reply to my personal email address from the two Cookham Bigots! I guess maybe the questions I put to them too just difficult for them! :-)

  32. Now, what did Jesus do? He slept in and ate in houses that were occupied by ‘outsiders’ – prostitutes, extortionists – tax collectors, and other unsavoury characters that the religious majority considered sinners. Can’t see Jesus turning away anybody from his B&B. Heck, his welcome and compassion and love would be amazing. Yey, who knows his sinful guests, well that is why the Wilkinson’s turned away Black and Morgan [I hope they turned away sinful co-habiting couples as well, in order to be consistent in their faith], might well have become Christians. And as Christians are called to ‘convert’ the Wilkinson’s failed dismally by not even being hospitable in a ‘Good Samaritan’ kind of way – Black and Morgan were without somewhere to stay for the night because of their action. OK so they found some where else but…

    And finally I am a Gay Christian – I know – but I would be expected to obey the law if I were a B&B owner. So no discrimination. However if I see an advertisement for a B&B that says Christian or Gay then if it was the only one in the area I would ask if I was welcome. I know I, as a Gay person should be welcome, and as a Christian should be welcome, or at least not discriminated against. But reality being what it is..The Wilkinson’s and those with the same feeling tyowards certain people should state that they are a Christian B&B, same as Gay owners do so, as someone else here has said, because they run their business on that premise. Just my point of view.

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