England

Gay couple turned away from B&B wait for damages verdict

  • 17 September 2012
  • From the section England
Michael Black (l) and John Morgan
Image caption The couple drove back home after being refused a room in the B&B

A gay couple have sued the owner of a bed and breakfast after she refused to let them stay in a room with a double bed.

Michael Black, 64, and John Morgan, 59, from Cambridgeshire, sought damages from Susanne Wilkinson, from Berkshire.

The owner of the Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Cookham said her religious beliefs dictated her decision.

Recorder Claire Moulder reserved judgment at Reading County Court for one to two weeks.

The couple, from Brampton near Huntingdon, had booked a double room for March 2010.

But when they arrived, Mrs Wilkinson made it clear she was not prepared to allow them to share a double bed, and that she would not accommodate them.

Lawyers from the human rights organisation Liberty have taken up the case.

They argued that under legal regulations it was unlawful for a person concerned with the provision of services to the public to discriminate against a person on the grounds of their sexual orientation.

Lawyers for Mrs Wilkinson argued that a person offering bed and breakfast in their own home was entitled to refuse to allow people who were not married or in a civil partnership to share a double bed.

The couple are not in a civil partnership. In these circumstances, there was no direct or indirect discrimination, the lawyers said.

The men seek a declaration they have been discriminated against and aim to claim damages.

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