Christian B&B owner turns away gay couple
A gay couple were turned away from a bed and breakfast because the Christian owner did not approve of their homosexuality.
Michael Black and John Morgan, from Brampton, Cambridgeshire, intended to stay one night at the Swiss B&B in Cookham, Berkshire, on Friday night.
But when they arrived, owner Susanne Wilkinson refused to let them in because they were a gay couple.
She later admitted she did not approve of their sexuality.
Mr Black said the couple were “shocked and embarrassed” at the refusal/
He told the BBC: “We’re two respectable middle-aged men – John is leader of the Lib Dem group on Huntingdon Town Council.
“This was the first time either of us had experienced homophobia at first hand, despite being aged 56 and 62. We were shocked and embarrassed.”
He said that Ms Wilkinson did apologise and refunded their deposit, but “acted in an unwelcoming, cold way”.
Mr Black added: “All she said about her reasons for turning us away was that it went against her convictions for us to stay there.”
The couple have reported her to Thames Valley Police, which confirmed the incident was being treated as homophobic.
The Equality Act 2006 makes it illegal to discriminate against people on the grounds of sexual orientation.
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Ms Wilkinson told the BBC: “They gave me no prior warning and I couldn’t offer them another room as I was fully booked.
“I don’t see why I should change my mind and my beliefs I’ve held for years just because the government should force it on me.
“I am not a hotel, I am a guest house and this is a private house.”
Last March, a gay couple sued a Christian-run hotel in Cornwall for barring them from staying in a room together.
Civil partners Martin Hall and Steven Paddy launched a county court claim seeking up to £5,000 in damages alleging “direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation”.
Owners of the Chymorvah Private Hotel Peter and Hazelmary Bull defended the ban, saying that they had always barred unmarried couples, whether gay or straight, from sharing a bed.