Police probe B&B rejection of gay couple
LONDON (AFP) – Police are probing an alleged homophobic incident after a gay couple were turned away by a guest house whose owner would not let them sleep together, a spokesman said Monday.
Michael Black, 62, and John Morgan, 56, were not allowed to stay at The Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Cookham, west of London, after the owner said it was “against her convictions” to let them share a bed.
“The call has been logged as a homophobic incident,” Thames Valley Police said, adding that they had asked the couple’s local police force to speak to the pair.
Under the Equality Act 2006 it is illegal to discriminate against people on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Black said the couple arrived at the guest house on Friday and were met by the owner, Susanne Wilkinson. “She could see through the windscreen that we were two men,” he said.
“She said, ‘It’s a large double bed in a double room’ and we said, ‘yes’, and then she said it was against her convictions to let us stay.”
“She said it was her private home and it was against her convictions.
“She said she was sorry and she was polite in a cold way and she was not abusive, so we asked our money back and she gave it to us.
“There is no reason why we had to make it clear we were two men in this day and age,” he added.
Wilkinson told the BBC: “They gave me no prior warning and I couldn’t offer them another room as I was fully booked.
“I don’t see why I should change my mind and my beliefs I’ve held for years just because the government should force it on me,” she said. “I am not a hotel, I am a guest house and this is a private house.”
Intending to stay over, Black and Morgan were in Cookham to meet friends for dinner and attend a local play.
They drove the 80 miles back home feeling “very angry”, Black said.