New Zealand: B&B owner says ‘not in my home’ to lesbian couple
A lesbian couple were told to sleep in separate beds or move on to other accommodation by a bed and breakfast in New Zealand.
Jane Collison and Paula Knights, an engaged couple, lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission after they were singled out by the Pilgrim Planet Lodge in Whangarei.
On arrival on 7 May, the two women were initially told by Lodge owner Karen Ruskin that there were no double beds available. Then, after they said they would take linen for a double bed and push the singles together, they were told a double bed was available but they couldn’t share it.
Ms Collison told the New Zealand Herald: “I got very confused, but started to click about what the issue may be and said, ‘Are we offending your religious beliefs’, and she said ‘Yes and you might have to find accommodation elsewhere’.”
The couple then drove 50 kilometres to Waipu Cove to find alternative accomodation.
“We are entitled under current legislation to discriminate on the basis of sex in shared accommodation,” he said. “It’s my own personal integrity to say I don’t want same-sex sex in my house.
“The Government can legislate for same-sex marriage but it can’t legislate that I allow them to have their honeymoon in my home,” he added.
Green MP Kevin Hague responded that the law does not allow for cases of discrimination in commercial accommodation, and said “to find someone still doing it is surprising to me, and will be appalling for this couple”.
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The men were prevented from sharing a room together at the Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Cookham, Berkshire.
In March 2013, Peter and Hazelmary Bull, from Cornwall, claimed they have managed to get round equality laws by changing the status of their guesthouse to a not-for-profit company. They say they can now legally turn away unmarried straight and gay couples.