Police investigate after homosexual couple were 'turned away from B&B' by Christian owners
By Daily Mail Reporter
Police launched an investigation today after a Christian bed and breakfast owner turned away a gay couple because she said it was 'against her convictions' to let them share a bed.
Michael Black, 62, and John Morgan, have complained of unlawful discrimination after they were not allowed to take up their booking at the B&B in Cookham, Berkshire.
The couple had booked a double room at the £75-a-night guest house on Friday and were met outside by owner Susanne Wilkinson.
She later admitted she had turned the couple away because it was her policy not to let same sex couples share a room.
Angry: Gay couple Michael Black, left, and John Morgan claim they were discriminated against by a B&B owner who refused to let them share a bed
Mr Black and Mr Morgan, from Brampton, Cambridgeshire, say they were treated like lepers.
It is illegal under the Equality Act 2006 to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation and they have been interviewed after reporting the case to police.
The couple had arranged the room because they were going for dinner with friends and to the theatre.
'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.
'We said it was illegal to discriminate against people who stay in hotels because that's all we knew at the time and she said it was her private home and it was against her convictions.
'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.'
He added: 'We were very shocked, and of course angry, that it happened. Neither of us has ever experienced homophobia before and I have been out since 1974. We felt we were treated like lepers and not fit to be under the same roof as her.'
Mr Black said that Mrs Wilkinson has said the men should have warned her, but the self-employed trainer said: 'It would be like saying to someone who runs a guest house, "I'm black or Muslim or blue-eyed" just in case they have a problem with it.
'There is no reason why we had to make it clear we were two men in this day and age. We have stayed in plenty of guest houses in Britain and abroad and have never had a problem.'
'Warm welcome': The Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Cookham
Mrs Wilkinson admitted to BBC News that she had turned the men away. She said: '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,' she said. 'I am not a hotel, I am a guest house and this is a private house.'
The B&B's website boasts: 'A warm and friendly welcome awaits all guests at Susanne Wilkinson's Swiss Bed & Breakfast in the idyllic village of Cookham, near Maidenhead in Berkshire.
'This Swiss-English family offers first class hospitality in their spacious and comfortable home to business, tourist or family visitors from all around the world. English, French and German spoken.'
Stonewall, the gay rights campaign group, said that turning a couple away because of their sexual orientation was illegal.
Spokesman Derek Munn said: 'Stonewall was delighted when the law changed in 2007 so that lesbian and gay couples could go on their holidays like anyone else.
'In open-and-shut cases of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation the law's quite clear - it's illegal for businesses to turn away gay customers or discriminate against them when providing goods or services, and this can't be overridden by personal prejudice.'
A spokeswoman for Thames Valley Police said: 'We are aware of the incident and were contacted yesterday. The call has been logged as a homophobic incident.
'As the people live outside of the force area, we have asked Cambridgeshire Constabulary to speak to the individuals concerned.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1259646/Gay-couple-turned-away-guest-house-owner-let-share-bed.html#ixzz0ivkk3WKS