12:54 | 19th April 2019

News: UK

Fri 26 Mar, 2010
By Danielle Carter

They should be free to live and act out their faith

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The homophobic couple who threw out two gay men who wanted a room for the night have been defended by the 'Group Christian Concern for our Nation' saying that they should be free to conduct themselves within their religious doctrine.

Read the full article below:

"Susanne and Francis Wilkinson were inundated with phone calls and e-mails after they refused accommodation to a male homosexual couple.

The incident began last Friday when exams consultant Mr Black and Liberal Democrat Councillor Mr Morgan arrived at the bed and breakfast in Cookham, near Maidenhead, following a theatre trip.

They had previously made a booking and paid a deposit, but it was only when they arrived that Mrs Wilkinson realized that they were gay and were to share a double bed.

The couple admitted that Mrs Wilkinson was polite as she explained that because it was against her Christian convictions she could not accommodate them, and immediately refunded their deposit.

Mr Black and Mr Morgan were then given accommodation in a nearby guesthouse, but felt “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.” They therefore reported the incident to the police.

Stonewall, the homosexual rights campaign group, said that turning a couple away because of their sexual orientation was illegal. Spokesman Derek Munn said: '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.'

As soon as the case became known the Wilkinsons were deluged with e-mails and phone calls. 'There must have been 900 emails, and I would say half of them are really abusive and threatening,' Mr Wilkinson said. 'I'm really saddened that so many people have articulated themselves in such a foul way.'

He said attempts had been made to have their website taken down, and many messages were so similar he suspected an organised campaign.

Swiss-born Mrs Wilkinson said, 'People just take it for granted that their lifestyle will be accepted wherever they go. If they had gone to a hotel I think it would probably be different, but this is my house, we live here with our children - it's our home that's the difference.'

The couple, who are committed Christians, admitted they did not quiz heterosexual guests about their marital status, but said it was something they might now consider.

Recently the Wilkinsons have been encouraged by many people writing to support their position. “Several are from homosexuals saying they apologise for the publicity-seeking gentlemen and don't agree with that point of view and that we have the right to decide who comes into our home,” Mr Wilkinson said.

Police have now said that any court action would have to be taken through the civil and not criminal courts. A Thames Valley Police statement said: “The incident may be a breach of The Equalities Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, which outlaws discrimination by businesses against gay, lesbian and bi-sexual people. It is not a criminal offence, so police will not be carrying out a criminal investigation.”

Andrea Minichiello Williams, Director of CLC, commented ‘ We have spoken to Mr and Mrs Wilkinson and will do all that we can to assist them if these two men pursue a case against them. It is wrong that they should be intimidated in this way in Great Britain. They should be free to live and act out their faith’."


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