U.K. B&B Ordered to Pay Gay Couple More Than $5K
A judge recently ordered the professedly Christian owner of bed and breakfast in Southeast England to pay a gay couple more than $5,000 because she refused to give them a room, the (U.K.) Telegraph reports.
In 2010, the owner of the Swiss B&B in the English country of Berkshire Susanne Wilkinson, denied Michael Black, 64, and his partner John Morgan, 59, a room because it was "against her convictions" to allow two men to share a room, EDGE reported.
Wikinson told the judge it was common for her to deny rooms to unmarried heterosexual couples because of her Christian beliefs as well. But when she refused to give the men a room she faced the charge of having violated Britain’s Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
"When we got out of the car," Black later recounted, "she was immediately distant and unfriendly and then she said, "It’s a double room,’ and we said, ’Yes.’ She said, ’It’s a large double bed in a double room,’ and we said, ’Yes,’ and then she said it was against her convictions to let us stay."
When the couple told Wilkinson she would be breaking the anti-discrimination law, the businesswoman said the B&B was private property.
"She said she was sorry and she was polite in a cold way and she was not abusive, so we asked our money back and she gave it to us," Black said.
"They gave me no prior warning and I couldn’t offer them another room as I was fully booked," Wilkinson told the media. "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."
Black added that he and Morgan were "shocked, and of course angry" that they were turned away. The couple felt they were "treated like lepers." He said neither of them encountered homophobia since coming out in the ’70s.
When the case went to court, Wilkinson, along with her husband Mike, told the judge they were following their Christian beliefs and that they could not give the couple a room because they believed homosexuality is a sin.
"As a Christian, I have tried to live my life and carry out my work in accordance with my deeply held Christian beliefs," she told the court. "To permit same sex couples to share a double room in my home would be an act against my core religious beliefs and conscience."