LONDON, January 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Just a week after Christian guesthouse owners in Cornwall were ordered to pay compensation to two homosexual men turned away over a married-couples-only rule, two more homosexuals are suing the owners of an upscale bed and breakfast on the Thames.
Emboldened by the recent win for the homosexualist lobby, Michael Black, 63, and John Morgan, 58, are claiming sexual discrimination by owner Susanne Wilkinson after they were turned away from the Swiss B&B in Cookham, Berkshire, last March.
“The legal situation is that breaking the sexual discrimination act is not a criminal offence so there would be no consequences for the B&B owner unless we took legal action,” Black told media. “These cases reinforce the fact that discrimination of any kind is wrong, both legally and morally.”
The Daily Mail reports that the two men booked their room online but when they arrived Mrs. Wilkinson told them “it is against my convictions for two men to share a bed’, adding ‘this is my private home.” Wilkinson returned their deposit and asked them, politely, to leave.
“She said she was sorry and she was polite in a cold way and she was not abusive, so we asked our money back and she gave it to us,” Black told the Mail.
Black implied that the solution is for people with traditional British Christian moral values to stay out of any business or employment that would bring them into contact with the public.
“If anyone thinks that providing a public service may conflict with their religious beliefs they should question whether that is a suitable business for them.”
The first institutions to disappear under the recently passed Sexual Orientation Regulations of the Equality Act, installed under Tony Blair’s Labour government, were the nation’s Catholic adoption agencies. All of them were forced either to close or sever their ties with the Catholic Church upon being instructed that they must consider homosexual partners as prospective adoptees.
In debates in the House, some British parliamentarians had also warned that the Equalities laws would create legal conflicts between homosexuals and conscientious Christian hoteliers like Peter and Hazelmary Bull, the owners of the Cornwall guesthouse who were ordered by a judge last week to pay £3,600 to Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy, homosexuals in a registered civil partnership.
The Bulls appear to have been set up as a test case by the homosexualist activist group Stonewall. The two men, according to court testimony, attempted to book a room in the Penzance guesthouse by registering as “Mr. and Mrs. Preddy” a month after the Bulls received a threatening letter from Stonewall.
The Bulls, who are appealing last week’s ruling, say they are being driven out of business by a “hate campaign,” and have received abusive phone calls and bogus negative reviews of their hotel have been posted to a travel website. Several homosexual men have called and demanded rooms, threatening legal action if they are refused. Mrs. Bull told the Daily Telegraph, “One told me I was an abomination and would go straight to hell. These people know nothing about my lifestyle, and I’ve been astounded by their cruelty.”
Following the Bulls’ court ruling, Stonewall director Ben Summerskill penned a column in the left-leaning Guardian newspaper ridiculing the idea that Christians are being targeted by homoseuxalists or are suffering from any kind of persecution for their beliefs.
But the Bulls’ case has attracted international attention. It was cited specifically in a report by an EU watchdog group on religious freedom as an example of a growing “totalitarian” secularism targeting Christian believers who dare to try to live their faith in the public realm. Gudrun Kugler, director of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, said that Christians in Europe are heading towards a “bloodless persecution.”
“Christians are increasingly marginalized and are appearing more often in courts over matters related to faith,” Kugler said in an interview this week.
This week, former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe defended Christian hoteliers, writing in the Daily Express on Wednesday, “There is a difference between discriminating against somebody because of what he is and refusing to promote or facilitate what he does.
“If the Bulls ran a grocery shop which refused to serve homosexuals then that would be discrimination but to refuse to facilitate their activity or that of an unmarried heterosexual couple by providing a double bed is not. It is the once lawful exercise of conscience against particular deeds.”
Robert Leitch, a homosexualist activist in the Tory party, agreed, writing on the ConservativeHome blog, “The reaction to this somewhat traditional yet harmless policy has been remarkable.
“Mr. and Mrs. Bull have been tagged as homophobes, taken to court, forced to justify their literal interpretation of the Bible, told by the judge involved that their views are out of date and, finally, given a punishment which will place significant strain upon their business’ finances.
“In the end, the penalty for holding a diverse viewpoint has been extreme.”
Michael Portillo, a former cabinet minister, commented to BBC Radio 4 yesterday that the case is an example of the danger Britain faces of turning into a “secular theocracy.” He said, “I am not a religious person. But I can easily conceive of how I could be on the receiving end of some future legislation.”
On the same program Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, expressed concerns over the erosion of traditional liberties. Such decisions mean that Christians are “allowed to have those views but they’re not allowed to do anything with them.”
“I mean it basically makes a mockery of religion if that’s the case; it’d be kind of religion-lite. You can think that in the privacy of your bedroom, as we in fact used to say, but certainly you can’t do anything about it.”