A judge in Reading County, England, has ruled in favor of a gay couple, Michael Black and John Morgan, that was denied a room in which they would share a bed at the Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Berkshire. According to Recorder Claire Moulder, the B&B’s owner, Susanne Wilkinson, “treated them less favorably than she would treat unmarried heterosexual couples in the same circumstances,” ordering her to compensate them £1,800 each.
Wilkinson reacted by claiming she and her husband had been penalized for their Christian beliefs:
WILKINSON: We believe a person should be free to act upon their sincere beliefs about marriage under their own roof without living in fear of the law. Equality laws have gone too far when they start to intrude into a family home. [...]
‘I am a Christian, not just on a Sunday in church, but in every area of my life – as Jesus expects from his followers.That’s all I was trying to do and I think it’s quite wrong to punish me for that especially after enduring over two years of vile abuse and threats. We find this a strange justice in a society that aspires to be increasingly tolerant.
Contrary to Wilkinson’s belief, a family home is no longer just a family home when it’s a public accommodation like a B&B. Similar cases have prevailed against discriminating B&B owners in Illinois, British Columbia, as well as another UK lodging owned by Peter and Hazelmary Bull. Both the Bulls and the Wilkinsons are contemplating appeals.