Gay B&B couple say support is ‘touching’

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A gay couple who were turned away from a bed and breakfast last week because of their sexuality have thanked supporters.

Michael Black, 62, and John Morgan, 56, contacted police after the Swiss B&B in Cookham, Berkshire, refused to let them stay on Friday night.

B&B owner Susannne Wilkinson confirmed she had turned them away because they were a gay couple.

The couple have thanked supporters who have emailed them and offered them places for free.

Mr Black told the BBC: “It’s been touching that we’ve had offers from complete strangers, who don’t know us – all they know is what they have read. It shows they feel strongly enough that what’s happened to us is wrong to try to make amends, and that’s terrific.

“We feel something positive has come out of this. What we want to achieve is for the owners of B&Bs all over the country to be aware that they are not above the law, and that there is a law that bans discrimination.”

The Equality Act 2006 makes it illegal to refuse people goods and services on the grounds of sexual orientation. Thames Valley Police have confirmed the incident is being treated as homophobic.

Mrs Robinson said at the weekend that her Christian beliefs meant she could not allow the men to sleep in the same bed and that she had informed the couple “politely”.

She said: “I don’t see why I should change my mind and my beliefs I’ve held for years just because the government should force it on me.”

Her husband Francis Robinson said yesterday they had received hate mail and even threats after the story hit the national news. One message threatened to burn down their home.

He told the Daily Mail: “There must have been 900 emails, and I would say half of them are really abusive and threatening.

“I’m really saddened that so many people have articulated themselves in such a foul way.”

A police spokesman said there would not be a police investigation as it is not a criminal offence but the gay couple have been advised to consider a civil claim.