Gay couple will decide next week whether to sue B&B owners
A gay couple have said they will decide in the coming week whether to take the Christian owners of a bed and breakfast to court for turning them away.
Michael Black, 62, and John Morgan, 56, say they are currently seeking legal advice after the Swiss B&B in Berkshire refused them a room last month.
Owners Susanne and Mike Wilkinson said they turned the pair away because they were gay. The Christian couple said it was a matter of conscience.
Mr Black told the Bucks Free Press: “We are seeing a mate tomorrow who is a barrister who is going to give us advice and we’ll make a decision fairly soon hopefully in the next week.”
The Equality Act 2006 makes it illegal to refuse people goods and services on the grounds of sexual orientation and the couple can make a civil claim against the Wilkinsons.
But Mr Wilkinson said he and his wife were keen to defend the case in court.
“We believe we have a robust argument and hope the judge will agree,” he said.
He added: “Personally I would like this to become a matter of debate leading up to the election.
“We continue to get supportive emails from all and sundry including people of faith, not of faith and gay people.”
The story received more attention at the weekend when shadow home secretary Chris Grayling was secretly recorded telling a meeting that he thought B&B owners should have the right to turn people away on the basis of sexuality but hotels should not.
He said: “I personally always took the view that. . . if it’s a question of somebody who’s doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn’t come into their own home.”
He later said that people should be “sensitive” to faith groups but was satisfied with the current laws, which he had voted for.