A YouGov poll shows that 57% of people in Britain don’t think that bed and breakfast owners should be allowed to refuse accommodation to people based on their sexuality.
A third (33%) believe they should and 11% “don’t know”.
The Westminster Faith Debates at Lancaster University commissioned the research.
In response to the question of whether B&B owners should be allowed to refuse accommodation to people based on their sexuality, 81% of under 24s say they should not, but just 40% of those aged 60 or more agree. Half of those aged 60+ think that B&B owners should be allowed to discriminate against gay couples.
People who say they belong to a religion also disapprove of discrimination. Asked the question whether B&B owners should be allowed to refuse accommodation to people based on their sexuality, the proportion of those in all the major religious groups who say they should not be allowed outweighs the proportion who say it should.
The survey of 4,018 people was carried out ahead of Wednesday’s appeal by B&B owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull.
The Christian pair prevented a same-sex couple from sharing a room at their guesthouse in Cornwall in 2008.
In January 2011, a judge at Bristol County Court ruled the Bulls’ behaviour amounted to direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and awarded a total of £3,600 damages to Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy.
When asked whether it was right or wrong that the Bulls were ordered to pay damages of £3,600, the YouGov poll shows 49% of people think it was wrong that they had to pay damages, while 40% say it was right, and 11% don’t know.
The appeal, on Wednesday 9 October, will be heard at the same time as that of Susanne Wilkinson, who refused to let Michael Black and John Morgan share the same bed at The Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Cookham, Berkshire, during March 2010.