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Religious Bigots

If ever there was any doubt that religious people shouldn’t be allowed to have their out-dated views on sexual morality in the public domain, then read the following story and think again. A Christian couple denied a middle-aged gay couple access to their guest house after they realised that they were, well, gay.

Susanne and Francis Wilkinson, who run the B&B in Cookham, Berkshire, refused to allow Michael Black and John Morgan to take up their reservation, saying it was against their policy to allow same sex couples to stay. They also insisted that they didn’t think it was right that they should change their beliefs just because the government tells them too. That’s some interesting thinking there. Maybe the Wilkinsons should put up a ‘no blacks, no dogs, no Irish’ sign as well; fearless iconoclasts, railing against The Man.

‘The property is not a hotel,’ said Mrs Wilkinson, presuming that it puts her above the law. ‘It operates as a guest house and private home. 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.’

Yes, absolutely, why should you change your mind? Holding bigoted beliefs and committing illegal actions is fine if you’ve done it for a long time. But it gets better: listen to the husband, who thinks religious freedom includes the ability to discriminate.

‘We are Christians and we believe our rights don't have to be subordinated,’ he said. ‘We have religious freedom and we are not judging that but we are not prepared to have that sort of activity under our roof. These people are very organised and we have already been inundated with abusive calls and emails. It is really sad that people act like that.’

‘We're two respectable middle-aged men,’ said Black. ‘John is leader of the Lib Dem group on Huntingdon town council. This was the first time either of us had experienced homophobia at first hand, despite being aged 56 and 62. We were shocked and embarrassed.

‘Mrs Wilkinson saw us both before we got out of the car and immediately acted in an unwelcoming, cold way, but my boyfriend and I were polite and friendly. She said if we'd told her in advance she would have told us not to come. We want to try and prevent other people from going there and suffering discrimination.

‘Whatever her private views, that I can't change. Legally she can't discriminate. It is like we were treated as lepers in the worst possible way.’

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