Brampton: B&B Owner Loses Appeal

A bed and breakfast owner has lost an appeal against a ruling that she unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple from Brampton, near Huntingdon.

Susanne Wilkinson, a committed Christian, would not allow 64 year old Michael Black and his partner 59 year old John Morgan stay in a double room in Cookham, Berkshire, in March 2010.

Mrs Wilkinson said it was against her beliefs.

A judge at Reading County Court heard that the pair, who had made a reservation and paid a deposit, protested at their treatment but Mrs Wilkinson made it clear that it was against her religious convictions to allow two men to share a bed. 

Today (Tuesday), Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson, Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice McCombe, in the Court of Appeal in London, dismissed Mrs Wilkinson's challenge, but gave her permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

This appeal will be heard on the 9 October.

Lord Dyson said Mrs Wilkinson's policy, so far as practicable, was to restrict the use of her double rooms to married heterosexual couples. 

She never allowed couples of the same sex to share a double room and never knowingly allowed an unmarried heterosexual couple to do so either. 

In her evidence, Mrs Wilkinson, who was not in court, said she tried to live her life and carry out her work in accordance with her deeply held beliefs. 

The business, which had been operating since 2007, provided a special degree of care and attention to guests, who were invited into her home and treated as members of the family. 

The mother-of-four said: "Because I am a Christian, I believe that monogamous heterosexual marriage is the form of partnership uniquely intended for sexual relations between persons and that homosexual relations - as opposed to homosexual orientation - and heterosexual relations outside marriage are wrong.''

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