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Gay couple sue B&B owner

18 September 2012 by
Gay couple sue B&B owner

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

Michael Black and John Morgan are suing Susanne Wilkinson, owner of the Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Cookham, after she declined to let them have the room.

The couple had booked a double room for March 2010 but upon arrival at the B&B Wilkinson made it clear to them that 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, arguing that 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 Wilkinson claimed 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. As the couple are not in a civil partnership, 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 of £1,800 each.

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

Christian hoteliers who turned away gay couple see business slump >>

Wake-up call: Ensure you don't discriminate on sexual orientation grounds >>

By Kerstin Kühn

E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.

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