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Gay couple win B&B court fight

Michael Black and partner John Morgan Photo: ITV Anglia

A gay couple from Cambridgeshire have won their legal case against the owner of bed and breakfast accommodation who refused to let them stay in a double room because of her religious views.

Michael Black, 64, and partner John Morgan, 59, sought damages from Susanne Wilkinson after she refused to let them have the room at the Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Cookham, Berkshire, in March 2010.

Following the case heard at Reading County Court, the judge, Recorder Claire Moulder, found the couple had suffered unlawful discrimination.

The court heard the pair, from Brampton, near Huntingdon, were refused the room despite having made a reservation and paid a deposit.

At the time, Mr Black, an exams consultant and writer, protested at this treatment but the owner refused to allow them to stay as it was "against her convictions".

The judge found Mr Black and Mr Morgan, a computer consultant, had been the victims of direct discrimination.

She also said that even if this had not been the ruling, she would have found that the policy of only giving double rooms to married couples was indirectly discriminatory.

During the hearing, lawyers for Mrs Wilkinson argued that a person offering bed and breakfast in their own home was entitled to refuse to permit persons who were not married or in a civil partnership (whether of the opposite sex or the same sex) to share a double bed.

Mrs Wilkinson, a married mother-of-four, considered that providing a double bed to the couple would involve her in promoting what she believed to be a sin, namely sexual relations outside heterosexual marriage, the court heard.

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