Christian B&B owner sued by gay couple over double bed refusal

A Christian bed and breakfast owner appeared in court yesterday after being sued by a homosexual couple.

The case began after Susanne Wilkinson refused to let Michael Black and John Morgan share a double room at her B&B in 2010.

Mrs Wilkinson, 56, says her faith is not restricted to Sundays and that it affects “every area” of her day-to-day life.


After the case first hit the headlines Mrs Wilkinson and her husband were inundated with hate mail, including a hand-delivered note threatening to torch their house.

Mrs Wilkinson, whose case was heard at Reading County Court yesterday, said: “All we ever wanted was to be able to live and work in keeping with our faith.

“Christianity isn’t just something we do in church on a Sunday – it affects every area of our life, including our home and our business. Surely there is room for that in modern British life.”


Mrs Wilkinson, who runs the Swiss B&B in Cookham, is being supported by The Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund.

James Dingemans QC, representing Mrs Wilkinson, said it was against his client’s beliefs for unmarried people to share a bed under her roof, adding: “This is protected by the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998.”

He said a person offering bed and breakfast in their home was entitled to refuse to allow people who were not married or in a civil partnership to share a double bed.

Mr Dingemans denied that there had been any discrimination on the part of his client, insisting that it was “not the sexual orientation that she objected to but the sexual behaviour”.


He pointed out that the mother of four would have been happy to provide the couple with single beds, but none were available.

Mr Black and Mr Morgan, who are not in a civil partnership, are seeking a declaration that they have been discriminated against and damages of £1,800 each.

Henrietta Hill, acting on Mr Black and Mr Morgan’s behalf, said: “It is obvious that there is a difficult balancing act to be carried out in this case. The proper balance to be struck has already been determined by the very clear will of Parliament.”

The judge’s decision is expected within two weeks.

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