A Methodist minister on the Isle of Man has defended refusing to rent out his house to a lesbian couple.

Keith Price from the Independent Methodist Church refused a tenancy application from Kira Izzard and Laura Cull, from Douglas, because of their sexuality.

He claims his decision was based on his religious views and not prejudice.

“We are not homophobic but we do have a stance on the sexuality,” Mr Price said.

He added: “We understood that they [Ms Izzard and Ms Cull] were not a family so we said we couldn’t proceed [with the rental agreement].

“We believe that God has a plan for our lives within the context of marriage, the scripture is quite clear in its teaching on this.”

Ahead of Mr Price’s comments, Ms Izzard and Ms Cull spoke of their anger at the decision.

“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 and it felt like a personal attack,” Ms Cull said.

The couple have launched an online petition calling for the introduction of the UK’s Equality Act 2010 for the Isle of Man.

Chief Minister of the Isle of Man, Allan Bell, said he was appalled by the actions of the landlord and confirmed on Monday that plans to introduce an Equality Bill, based on the UK Equality Act of 2010, would be speeded up.