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Gay couple 'horrified' at threats to Cookham B&B
A GAY couple turned away from a Cookham bed and breakfast because they wanted to share a bed say they are ‘horrified’ by abuse and threatens sent to the hoteliers.
John Morgan and Michael Black condemned the response to Mike and Susanne Wilkinson after the incident made national news.
The Christians hit national headlines on Monday for refusing to let refusing Michael Black and John Morgan stay on Friday night. They said threats included physical violence and one warning their home would be burned down.
In an email, Mr Morgan and Mr Black said: “We're horrified by, and totally condemn, the abuse and threats that the Wilkinsons have apparently received, and certainly haven't had any hand in it.”
They said they have not decided whether they wish to pursue a private civil prosecution. Police said the matter was not a criminal offence but it may have broken equality laws.
Yesterday The Bucks Free Press reported that Mr and Mrs Wilkinson, who run the Swiss B&B in Terry’s Lane, had received messages of support from gay people.
Mr Wilkinson, 55, said: “We have the right [to] who comes into our home.”
Today Mr Morgan and Mr Black said: “Many of the comments made on behalf of the Wilkinsons' position have attacked anti-discrimination laws, and focused on their right to hold their religious beliefs.
“Of course they have the right to hold what beliefs they choose, and we haven't criticised them for that. Our point all along has been that Mrs Wilkinson broke the law.
“That law governs behaviour, not beliefs. Running a B&B entails obeying the relevant laws and regulations, such as those concerning food hygiene, fire doors - and discrimination.”
They said: “A home that's open to the public as a business is no longer a private home.
“B&B owners are legally required to provide a service to anyone who books a room, and all they need to do is be polite - it would be unreasonable to expect to approve of all their guests.
“Nobody, and no business, is above the law. It would be horrifying if doctors or firefighters decided on the basis of their religious beliefs which patients to treat, and which blazes to tackle.
“If the Wilkinsons feel obliged to break the law as B&B owners, they might be better off considering a different occupation.”
And they said they have been ‘quite overwhelmed by the amount of support we've received’.
They said “Five B&Bs and families have even been generous enough to offer us free accommodation.
“We hope the publicity has made more B&B owners aware that their business is subject to the laws against discrimination. If they don't like that, they should get out of the business.”
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