Main | Thursday, October 18, 2012

BRITAIN: Gay Couple Wins Lodging Lawsuit Against Bed & Breakfast

Two British gay men have been awarded £1,800 each in their lawsuit against a local bed and breakfast that refused their request to share a bed.
The couple, who booked by email and paid a deposit, were turned away by Christian owner Susanne Wilkinson when they arrived at the Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Cookham, Berkshire in March 2010. Despite protestations from Black that it was unlawful discrimination, the owner refused to allow the couple to stay as it was "against her convictions." However, the judge found that Black and Morgan suffered direct discrimination and also made clear that, even if she had not found direct discrimination, she would have found that the owner’s professed policy of only giving double rooms to married couples was indirectly discriminatory. The judge dismissed the owner’s argument that she had not acted in a discriminatory way because she objected to homosexual sexual behaviour rather than homosexual sexual orientation. It was also found that, although the refusal of a room could be seen as a manifestation of the owner’s religious beliefs, her right to manifest these beliefs was not unfairly limited by the Equality Act - which requires that service providers do not discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation.
Expect this case to turn up in anti-marriage ads here shortly. 

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