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B&B owner takes a stand on equality

04 August 2004
B&B owner takes a stand on equality

A Scottish B&B owner, who hit the headlines by refusing a gay couple a double room, is considering standing as a member of the Scottish parliament to combat a proposed Single Equality Act.

Tom Forrest, who owns the three-bedroom Cromasaig B&B in Kinlochewe, Wester Ross, feared the act could force hoteliers to go against their own morals in accepting guests' requests. As his business is also his home, Forrest said it was his prerogative to prevent "perverted" acts taking place in it. And he feared the act would open the floodgates to guests who practised bestiality, paedophilia or necrophilia.

It would also destroy tourism in the Scottish Highlands, he warned, as many B&B owners in a predominantly Presbyterian area would close down rather than be forced to let rooms to homosexuals. This would hurt local hotels, which, Forrest said, could not survive without the extra income generated by B&B guests using their restaurants. "What you could get away with in Blackpool, you could not get away with in Ullapool," he said. "Why should 0.2% of population rule the rest of us?"

Forrest's stand for "common decency" has generated over 4,000 mostly supportive e-mails and letters from around the world. Support has come from the president of a US catering organisation and a gay man, who said he would never dream of demanding a double bed in a Highland home.

The publicity has also boosted trade at Cromasaig - Forrest said he needed 20 more bedrooms to cope with the demand.

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