The Christian B&B owners who wouldn’t give a double bed to a homosexual couple are set to face legal action.
Mike and Susanne Wilkinson, who run the Swiss B&B in Berkshire, turned the same-sex couple away because it is against their convictions to let them share a double room in their home.
The Wilkinsons would have offered the couple separate single rooms, but were unable to do so as the guesthouse was fully booked.
And now Michael Black and John Morgan, who are being represented by the human rights group Liberty, have announced their intention to sue the Christian couple “for the injury to their feelings”.
Mr Wilkinson defended the couple’s stance, saying: “Ours is a faith position and hasn’t changed. This response seems completely disproportionate.
“We feel the law is wrong and needs to be amended.”
His concerns were echoed by Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of Public Affairs at The Christian Institute, who said: “This comes down to the rights of a gay couple to have a holiday where they choose against the rights of a Christian couple to act in accordance with their conscience.”
Mr Calvert added: “There seems to be this view that religious conscience comes bottom of the pile.
“It does seem extraordinary that Liberty is invoking the power of the state to try to force this couple to act against their convictions in their own home.”
But James Welch, legal director of Liberty, defended the group’s involvement, saying: “Liberty defends the rights of religious groups to preach their beliefs, even when we disagree with them, but not to discriminate in the provision of goods and services.”
In a letter sent to Mr and Mrs Wilkinson last week Mr Welch claimed: “Your unlawful treatment of my clients resulted in considerable embarrassment and humiliation to them both and they seek compensation from you for the injury to their feelings.”
Liberty’s involvement in the case will alarm advocates of religious liberty.
In 2008 Liberty argued that Islington Council’s decision to require registrar Lillian Ladele to register homosexual civil partnerships did not amount to indirect discrimination.
In April Chris Grayling, a Minister of State at the Department of Work and Pensions, said that Christians who run B&Bs in their own homes should be allowed to exercise their conscience over who is allowed to stay.
Mike Judge debates theissue on Sky News
And in 2005 homosexual activist Ben Summerskill implied that B&Bs should have the right to deny same-sex couples double rooms.
He said: “If you went to a B&B where the owner didn’t like gays or lesbians, then there’s another B&B down the road”.
The Wilkinsons’ case mirrors that of Christian B&B owners from Cornwall who are currently being sued over the same issue.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull have had a policy of only offering married couples double rooms since they bought the guesthouse in 1986.
The couple are being sued for refusing to allow a homosexual couple to stay in a double room.