Same sex couple turned away from a B&B have been awarded compensation.

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By Anastasia Broad… on 27.10.2023

Same sex couple turned away from a B&B have been awarded compensation.

A same sex couple were forced out from a bed and breakfast because the owner claimed it was “against her convictions” to permit them to share a bed, despite the fact the couple had already made a reservation and paid a deposit to the proprietor, a Mrs Suzanne Wilkinson from Cookham, Berkshire.

A decision ruled by Reading Crown Court has now stated that Mrs Wilkinson was unlawful in her discrimination against the couple on the grounds that she did not agree with their sexual orientation, and the couple have been awarded £3,600 in compensation and say they are “delighted” with the decision.

My first thought upon hearing this news was that the couple are running a business and that personal beliefs should not interfere with certain jobs, particularly B&B ownership. Their purpose is to provide a service to the general public; therefore they cannot simply pick and choose their customers on the grounds of whether they ‘like’ them or not. To me, the decision seems decidedly straightforward. It is unlawful to refuse services to people because of their race, their sexuality, religious belief or disability for example. The treatment from the Wilkinson’s to the Black/Morgans is completely illegal and cannot be legitimised on the basis that their business is still a ‘private’ home because in the end, a ‘business’ should be professional and run according to laws and industry not quirk and bigotry.

To add to the peculiarity of this story, Nick Griffin, the leader of the British Nationalist Party, has recently tweeted the address of the couple and stated that people can ‘discriminate if they want to.’ Whilst I respect that people have a right to air their views and opinions, there is a limit to how and where you do it. This is downright offensive and an invasion of privacy. It is over–stepping the mark and an opportunity for violence. People who have an issue with the couple being in a same sex relationship could do much more than hold banners outside their house to prove their point, and this is the issue with the owners of the B and B. They have entitlement to disagree about the status of gay couples and marriages but they do not have the right to refuse them services in their business just to prove a point.

We live in a society wherein we are becoming more tolerant of other people’s beliefs and views but that there is also a time and a place to do it. Whilst it is okay for you to voice your opinions to yourself, it is not okay to preach them to others if it means discriminating against those you do not agree with. Therefore you cannot, in the words of the Wilkinson’s state that ‘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.’ If you are opening up your home to the public for a business you should keep your thoughts private.


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