Cookham Discussion Board

General Category => General Cookham Discussions => Topic started by: Ricardo on March 20, 2010, 08:04:55 PM



Title: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Ricardo on March 20, 2010, 08:04:55 PM
... that a couple of friends of mine were refused a room in a Cookham B&B last night on the grounds that the owner disapproved of their sexuality. It really saddened me that they had travelled 80 miles to attend a local theatre performance in what I have always considered to be an open, welcoming village in a beautiful part of the country, only to be turned away. I understand they are to take action, but what recourse is open to them, legally?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Showem on March 20, 2010, 11:05:15 PM
I don't know what legal recourse they have, but I'd like to add that's pretty disgraceful of the B&B in my opinion.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Cat on March 21, 2010, 09:00:56 AM
Taken from 'The Times' November 9th 2005

'HOTELIERS, bed-and-breakfast owners and pub landlords will no longer be able to bar gay people from their premises under laws to be announced today.

GPs who refuse to treat gays or lesbians, or councils who refuse to provide “wedding” ceremonies for civil partnership registrations, will also be breaking the law under the new regulations. The Government will accept today an amendment to its Equality Bill that will outlaw discrimination on ground of sexual orientation in providing goods and services or organising public functions.

The amendment, which will be accepted during the Bill’s Third Reading in the Lords today, will also mark the end of gay or lesbian-only clubs because bars and nightclubs will no longer be able to turn away straight people. The amendment, tabled by Lord Alli, a Labour peer, comes after several complaints that gay couples have been turned away from bed and breakfast places, hotels and restaurants'.

The complete report can be read on-line should anyone wish to so do. But I too share the sentiments expressed above. Whilst it is probably not possible to 'name and shame' the B/B it would be useful to have a clue as to who they might be. I for one would stop recommending them if made aware of the location of such a discriminatory practice. We do use a particular B/B as a 'spill over' when family come to visit. I hope it isn't that establishment.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Michael on March 21, 2010, 10:14:07 AM
As one of the people that Ricardo refers to, I'd like to add some details. I booked a double room at The Swiss B&B, Cookham, for the night of Friday, 19 March. When I arrived with my boyfriend, the proprietor, Susanne Wilkinson, refused to let us stay, on the grounds that it went against her convictions for two men to share a bed. This is illegal discrimination, and I very much hope nobody reading this will recommend The Swiss.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Cat on March 21, 2010, 10:27:20 AM
I'm afraid that this establishment has, from now on, lost some very good custom from our family and friends.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Simes on March 21, 2010, 10:44:38 AM
As per Cat's post, we will no longer be recommending The Swiss. Shame on them.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Joni on March 21, 2010, 11:22:43 AM
I shall no longer be recommending this B&B to my visiting friends and family.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: aj on March 21, 2010, 11:49:27 AM
Michael,

Firstly I would like to express my deep shock that you and your partner were treated like this. I had thought that this kind of behaviour was a relic of the last century. At any event, I think it is almost certain that the proprietor has broken the law and that, if you have not already done so, it would be appropriate to formally make a complaint to the police.

Meanwhile, I would like to apologise to you both as a Cookham resident. This does not represent the spirit of the beautiful village we share and I hope you will have the opportunity to return to us and enjoy a warm welcome.

very best regards

Andrew






Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Michael on March 21, 2010, 12:04:49 PM
It's very heartening to read these supportive postings, and be assured that we aren't tarring the whole of Cookham with the same brush!

The proprietor has certainly broken the law (The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007), and we've been in touch with Thames Valley police, who responded very quickly and positively. We're waiting to find out if the police will take action, or whether we'll need to make a civil claim in the county court.

We're also hoping to publicise the incident in the local media, and are asking referral sites (including this one) to remove links to the B&B concerned.

Having had two or three very enjoyable visits to see friends and colleagues in Cookham, we're looking forward to our next - though we know one place we won't be staying!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: MJ Saunders on March 21, 2010, 02:43:02 PM
I agree - shocking and very disappointing.

I hope the proprietors will reconsider their position and apologise to the visitors.  This is not to imply unjustified leniency.  It gives the opportunity to put matters right and avoid this being misinterpreted as indicative of our community.  Prejudice deserves little patience, except perhaps the chance for it to be humbly and honestly withdrawn. 

Borough Cllr MJ Saunders and Cookham resident.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: smokey1 on March 21, 2010, 04:46:00 PM
 Michael, I am shocked also at this blatant discrimination. I suggest that if you want to take the dmatter further, to go to your Citizens Advice Centre for information. this is a free service to all. To find the CAB in the area that you live just log on to the website to find their tel number and address. Good luck.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Newshound on March 21, 2010, 08:54:11 PM
I only trotted through here after a Google search of the event mentioned.

Whilst I can understand the disappointment of the two gentlemen involved, there are more productive ways to do this. A bad comment here, a negative score on Tripadvisor, a letter to the local newspaper etc etc.

I am not sure what you are hoping to achieve with a report to the police. Is a successful prosecution going to change the lady's views? Is a successful prosecution going to open her doors and her mind to same-sex couples? Probably not. All that it is going to do is cost her a lot of money defending her position and probably close down her guesthouse. Whilst you don't have to agree with her views, a homosexual couple should be prepared to accept the fact that not all people necessarily accept homosexuality under their roof. In the same way that my mother would not allow me to sleep with my girlfriend before marriage and that my father wouldn't let me drink myself to oblivion under his roof.

Whilst her opinion may be abhorrent, the steps taken are ridiculous and excessive and I do sincerely hope that you retract the prosecution. One can't help but note that in the run-up to an election, it is interesting that one of the involved gentlemen couldn't help but point out that he was a Liberal Democrat councillor to anyone in the press that would listen - cynical electioneering? I hope not.



Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: CH on March 21, 2010, 09:30:42 PM
I can't believe that someone in Cookham would behave like that.  We're not exactly the most conservative village around.

Whatever her personal beliefs, if she wants to offer a service to the public to make money then she needs to do everything legally.  I'm sure that she wouldn't think of not meeting food hygiene requirements because she's one of those old fashioned people who thinks that a pick of dirt doesn't do anyone any harm.

I am really quite shocked ... actually also rather embarrassed that Cookham could be connected with that sort of behaviour!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Darth Vader on March 21, 2010, 09:53:27 PM
As much as everybody should be tolerant of others sexuality, everybody should be tolerant of the guest house owners viewpoint. She is as much entitled to refuse these people as they are to be gay. Freedom of speech & freedom to express our view.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: CH on March 21, 2010, 10:13:12 PM
.... um, no actually, she's not entitled ... it's against the law ....


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Ricardo on March 21, 2010, 10:20:33 PM
It seems Cookham is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8578787.stm (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8578787.stm)

Newshound, are you suggesting that the owner was within her rights to do this? So, where do we draw the line? Is it okay for shopkeepers to refuse to sell their goods to gay couples? Or, indeed, anyone whose lifestyle they disagree with? Why not just go the whole hog and ban them from the village entirely? After all, as you might say ' a homosexual couple should be prepared to accept the fact that not all people necessarily accept homosexuality in their village'. What next? Ban fat people? Adulterers? Ginger people? And your comment about their 'electioneering' is laughable. The quote mentioned in all the press has come from a single source. He has not told 'anyone that would listen' that he is a Lib Dem councillor. He has told ONE person, and this has simply been repeated by the other media outlets, over which they have no control.

Darth Vader, the point is that, under law, she is NOT entitled to refuse 'these people'. Of course, she is entitled to her beliefs, but they do not put her above the law of the land.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Cat on March 21, 2010, 10:36:07 PM
After World War 11, the following lines were written by Pastor Martin Niemoller

"THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up."

Pastor Martin Niemoller '46


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bagheera on March 21, 2010, 10:57:58 PM
What next? Ban fat people? Adulterers? Ginger people?

Christians with deep held religious convictions?

It may be inconvenient but that argument works both ways, Ricardo.

Tolerance has such bad manners - it insists on being indiscriminate! 


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: aj on March 21, 2010, 11:02:58 PM
Apart from the yahoo link, this story has now appeared both on the BBC website and on the Guardian's page, and probably is likely to appear in the print edition tomorrow, I would guess.
This might give Ms. Wilkinson an idea of just how seriously this sort of thing is taken these days.

Ms. Wilkinson has apparently said, according to the Guardian that 'these people'... 'are organised', implying that some kind of media campaign has been launched to vilify her. By implication, the widespread press coverage is the work of this mysterious group, rather than a natural expression of public revulsion over her conduct.

In my opinion, her conduct is simply unacceptable in this day and age. Not because we are living in some kind of politically correct nanny state, but because expressing, as she did, discrimination against people whose sexual orientation she disagrees with, is comparable to walking down the street and hurling epithets at someone from another ethnic group. Or - and I regret to say this - forcing people to wear a Star of David to identify that they were Jewish. I'm not, of course, suggesting that Ms. Wilkinson has ever expressed any such beliefs, but it's crucial for a tolerant, multi-cultural society to understand that ANY discrimination, for ANY reason, MUST be socially unacceptable. It is the very foundation of social responsibility that we treat all races, all creeds, and all sexual preferences equally and without prejudice, regardless of our own personal beliefs.

Perhaps, sixty years ago, this kind of conduct might have been more widespread. But it's 2010. Modern Christianity has long since moved on from seeing the Bible as a literal codification of the rules by which a good Christian should live. The Bible reflects cultural mores that, in turn, were transcribed and reinterpreted by subsequent authors, living in their own unique and differing cultures, and while there are passages which may be seen as condemning homosexuality, there is considerable debate over whether these passages should be interpreted literally.

It is a founding tenet of Christianity that tolerance and love should be shown to one's fellow men (using the term inclusively, as in 'mankind'). As such, I hope that Ms. Wilkinson comes to understand that what she has done is a shameful thing and that - rather than being consistent with 'Christian beliefs' - it is, on the contrary, entirely antithetical to them.

I would like to hope that after due reflection, she might publically apologise for her actions, but in the meantime, I think it has been made quite clear that residents of Cookham are very sorry that this happened, and that we will always offer a warm welcome to any visitors in the future.



Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bagheera on March 21, 2010, 11:39:48 PM
In my opinion, her conduct is simply unacceptable in this day and age.

Which you are entitled to but that doesn't mean she is not entitled to hers too.


expressing, as she did, discrimination against people whose sexual orientation she disagrees with, is comparable to walking down the street and hurling epithets at someone from another ethnic group. Or - and I regret to say this - forcing people to wear a Star of David to identify that they were Jewish.

As far as I can tell it was all done privately.  It was Ricardo's friends who chose to make it public.


it's crucial for a tolerant, multi-cultural society to understand that ANY discrimination, for ANY reason, MUST be socially unacceptable. It is the very foundation of social responsibility that we treat all races, all creeds, and all sexual preferences equally and without prejudice, regardless of our own personal beliefs.

Unless they happen to be evangelical Christians - in which case they are bigots with no rights whatsoever?

I was going to say I was playing Devils advocate here but perhaps that is not the right term.

My concern is that we may be telling ourselves we are now tolerant when in reality we have merely substituted old intolerances with new ones.



Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bertie on March 22, 2010, 01:16:23 AM
This is how it is being reported in the gentlemens' local press..

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Home/Gay-couple-turned-away-from-BB-19307.xnf?BodyFormat=0& (http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Home/Gay-couple-turned-away-from-BB-19307.xnf?BodyFormat=0&)


It is perhaps a little unfortunate that the B&B's website offers a 'warm and friendly welcome to all guests.' Maybe now would be an opportune moment to alter that slightly.

My wife's cousin is gay, and sometimes brings his partner when he comes to stay. Both are extremely welcome in our house and always will be, but I do understand that not all people would feel the same.   I won't condemn anyone for not thinking as I do, just as I hope they'd offer me the same courtesy.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Showem on March 22, 2010, 08:28:22 AM
Bagheera, it was not done privately. A B&B is a business, open to the public. This isn't her refusing to let them stay in her private home, this is her refusing to let them stay in her business. That makes it public.

And I think it's a bit unfair to say we are intolerant to religious beliefs. Anyone can believe what they like as far as I'm concerned, but not when those beliefs negatively affect others. What if it wasn't a gay couple, but a couple of different races. Would you still be saying she has every right to refuse them accommodation? Sorry, you haven't said that exactly, but I'm not quite sure why you are defending her actions.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bagheera on March 22, 2010, 09:42:35 AM
A B&B is a business, open to the public. This isn't her refusing to let them stay in her private home, this is her refusing to let them stay in her business. That makes it public.

I disagree.  Although she is running a B&B, it is still her private home.

That was not what I meant, though.  My point is that this all happened outside the drive, presumably with nobody else around. She was not the one who went to the press.

Anyone can believe what they like as far as I'm concerned, but not when those beliefs negatively affect others.

But that is too simplistic.

Because, for reasons of conscience, she is unable to permit this couple to stay, your beliefs now negatively affect her ability to earn an income.

That is what happens when people start insisting on asserting "rights" and say "my rights trump yours".

If we insist on confrontation then it is only a small step to conflict and then everybody loses.

Why can people not live and let live?

Sometimes it is necessary for people to agree to differ and that it is best that they do not do business with one another if necessary.


I'm not quite sure why you are defending her actions

I am defending the right to conscientious objection.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Ricardo on March 22, 2010, 10:15:42 AM
So, Bagheera, they should have simply accepted that they're not welcome here and driven home quietly? Would you have been happy with that? How many times do you think that would happen before Cookham ground to a halt?

'Sorry, you can't stay here/shop here/see a play here because you are gay/black/a muslim and that might offend someone's sensibilities.'

I certainly wouldn't want to live in a village like that.

And you seem to want to have your cake and eat it. How can you 'live and let live' when you are disciminating against a whole section of the community. Or do you mean 'live and let live unless I disagree with you'?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: MLP on March 22, 2010, 10:41:40 AM
Banhgeera, I think you are missing the point.  This woman's actions are illegal.  It is, therefore, not "conscientious objection".  It is not even a case of "necessary for people to agree to differ and that it is best that they do not do business with one another if necessary."  Illegal is illegal and if a crime was being committed against you, I am sure you would want the police to act accordingly.
Years ago signs would be placed in B&Bs saying 'No Blacks or Irish'.  Thankfully we have moved on from that blatant discrimintaion and it is now time that we moved on from all forms of discrimination.  If this lady doesn't agree with two men shring a bed, then she should shut up shop as unfortuantely for her the law is quite implicit.  This isn't a case of freedom of speech and defending one's right to have an opinion, it's a case of this woman having broken a law.  You may not agree with that law, but it is a law none the less and one that is there to protect a sizable group of society.  A group of society that live in the village (yes they do), visit the village (again yes) and on a baser note bring revenue into the village.  This woman's 'convictions' are illegal, so stop defending her as it is not her 'right' to turn away a same sex couple and hasn't been since the law changed in 2007. 

On a more personal note, I'm afraid this story doesn't really surprise me.  Before moving to the village two years ago my partner and I popped into one of the village pubs for Sunday lunch to be greeted to openly homophobic remarks between three gentlemen of the village sitting at the bar.  Stupidly, not wanting to cause a fuss nothing was said by us.  It did make us question whether we wanted to continue with the house purchase and move to Cookham.  Thankfully we did as it's a great place to live and not populated by raving bigots!   We do not however, frequent that pub!





Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bagheera on March 22, 2010, 11:19:56 AM
How can you 'live and let live' when you are disciminating against a whole section of the community. Or do you mean 'live and let live unless I disagree with you'?

You mean "How can you 'live and let live' when you are disciminating against a the gay section of the community".

But your solution is to discriminate against those with deep held religious beliefs.

I realise that it is also the government's solution but that doesn't automatically make it right.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bagheera on March 22, 2010, 11:37:42 AM
This isn't a case of freedom of speech and defending one's right to have an opinion, it's a case of this woman having broken a law.

Yes she has broken the UK Law and the couple offended can sue her.

But Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights gives her freedom of conscience and she is at liberty, if she and her supporters are at liberty to seek clarification from the ECJ as to whether the UK Law has got the balance wrong - if they want to take it that far.

it's a great place to live and not populated by raving bigots! 

Agreed.  I do not want any bigotry in our village either - but if we attempt to force somebody to act in a way that is anathema to them are we not guilty of it?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: MLP on March 22, 2010, 11:53:00 AM
If Mr and Mrs Wilkinson do not want gay people in their guest house, that is their choice.  I or no one else can insist they do so.  The law of land, however, states that they may not refuse their services on the basis of somone's sexuality  (http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/uksi_20071263_en_1).  If they wish to go to ECJ, that again is entirely their right.  And it is entirely my right to disagree with their decision.  That does not make me or anyone else on this forum who has expreessed their disgust at their decision a bigot.  We are merely expressing our opionions in the same way that you and several others have in defence of the Wilkinsons, albeit under the coverall defence of 'playing devil's advocate'.  Healthy debate is good, discrimination of and supporting any kind against any member of society isn't.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bagheera on March 22, 2010, 12:12:22 PM
Healthy debate is good, discrimination of and supporting any kind against any member of society isn't.

That would be fine if it was clear cut.  The problem is that somebody has to be discriminated against.

You are of the opinion that the discrimination should be against the Wilkinsons - and you have the right to that opinion but it is still discrimination.

It is also the Law - but it is still discrimination.



Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: CH on March 22, 2010, 12:22:22 PM
I guess what it comes down to (whatever our own personal views on the subject) is that this behaviour is illegal and people cannot just pick and choose the laws that they follow depending on whether they meet with their own beliefs and values.

For instance, some people really like grafitti, but it is against the law and criminal damage.  Would Mrs Wilkinson think it was fine for someone to cover Cookham station with grafitti - would she agree if they said it's their right because they believe it is art and should therefore not be illegal?

There are some people who think that speeding or even more serious crimes should not be against the law but the majority of the country do and so it is legislated against.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Newshound on March 22, 2010, 01:00:50 PM
As Bagheera has eloquently argued - neither of us are claiming that what the lady involved has done puts her on any sort of moral high ground. Au contraire, I personally would never stay there after her behaviour.

What I am questioning is whether going to the police (and the newspapers) is really something that should have happened? It really, really cannot help the situation. If you think about how much this will cost the residents of Cookham (and let's just take a rough stab at the figures :

20 hours of police time, computers etc (say £2500 including all of their calls on the matter)
6 hours for lawyers to consider it (say £1200 before the decision on whether or not to go ahead)

So say that gets us to around £3500 before a decision on whether or not to prosecute (coming straight out of your local council tax fyi).

Then if there is a prosecution there will be at least another £15,000 of costs ranging from court fees, lawyers, judges costs etc etc etc.

So let's say that we are looking at around £17,000-£20,000 to push this on to court to give her a slap on the wrists. her beliefs won't change and her business will still not be particularly hospitable to same-sex couples even if she is less vocal about it and the two gents involved don't get to travel back in time and stay there when they wanted. Is this really how you want your council tax wasting?





Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Joni on March 22, 2010, 01:07:37 PM
Watch the 1 o'clock news on BBC1, there is a report in the BBC London bit at the end...


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: MLP on March 22, 2010, 01:16:23 PM
So, reading between the lines Newshound what you are really saying is that this is just a silly little issue that should be brushed under the carpet and forgotten about?  That the people to which this happened are not valid or valued members of society because they are gay?  That the investigation of this broken law does not warrant having £20k spent on it because of the subject matter?  That the two gentlemn involved should have just shut up rather than bringing this to the attention of the wider community?  I personally do not consider it a waste of money and in the same way I would not consider it a watse of money if the investigation invloved a couple of a different colour, race, creed or religion to me.  Or indeed if it involved an investigation into a crime against a heterosexual couple.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Showem on March 22, 2010, 01:22:32 PM
Bagheera, I notice you answered all of my last post, other than the question of whether you would be supporting the B&B owner if she had turned away a mixed races couple? And my point still stands regarding beliefs. If her beliefs are that 2 adult men shouldn't share a bed, then she shouldn't be running a B&B that is open to the public. Whether that is part of her house or not is irrelevant. She should choose to earn her money in an area where her beliefs don't get in the way of the business.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: ZM on March 22, 2010, 01:29:49 PM
What's next?  Take away women's right to vote?!  Absolutely disgusting!  I fully support taking the matter further - she should be made to pay the costs involved (perhaps Bagheera and Newshound could pitch in) and I am confident that her punishment will be more than 'a slap on the wrist'!  


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Ricardo on March 22, 2010, 01:36:01 PM
In a separate matter, I have been asked to point out that, although my discussion board pseudonym is 'Ricardo' I am not, repeat NOT David Ricardo of Cookham. I would have thought that the details listed under my name to the left would have made that obvious, but still..

Now, back to the matters that matter...


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bagheera on March 22, 2010, 02:36:30 PM
She should choose to earn her money in an area where her beliefs don't get in the way of the business.

Many years ago, Mr Barclay and Mr Lloyd were prevented from entering the professions because of their beliefs. 

So were Mr Cadbury, Mr Rowntree and Mr Fry.

But, as MLP says, "Thankfully we have moved on from that blatant discrimintaion and it is now time that we moved on from all forms of discrimination."


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: arty on March 22, 2010, 02:39:26 PM

She shouldn't be running a B&B that is open to the public.


This is he whole point of the problem. Showem is absolutely right in that. When she rents out rooms for the night as a business then it is no longer a private home solely for her family use. Bagheera is right in saying she is entitled to her beliefs ( however out of step with a tolerant society) but these convictions however firmly held do not apply in this case. I wonder that this is the first time her policy of turning people away has come to light!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Showem on March 22, 2010, 03:01:29 PM
Once again Bagheera, you haven't answered my question. I'll repeat again:

Would you be supporting the B&B owner if she had turned away a mixed races couple?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bagheera on March 22, 2010, 03:30:06 PM
Why are you attacking me personally because I have put a view that is contrary to yours, Showem?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Showem on March 22, 2010, 03:39:57 PM
Asking you a question isn't a personal attack. Sidestepping the answer however, makes me think you aren't that committed to your argument. Which is fine, but there's no need to ruffle more feathers just to get a reaction.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bagheera on March 22, 2010, 03:48:28 PM
I do not really see that the question is relevant since, as far as I am aware, it is not one that would be contrary to her beliefs - or any other religion that I am aware of.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: MLP on March 22, 2010, 03:52:43 PM
I don't think Showem is Bangheera, but you have been very vocal and eloquent in your support of Mrs Wilkinson's decision.  Perhaps Showem trying to ascertain how far people's support of discrimination goes.  I think this whole discussion does open up a far wider subject of why people find it ok to be discriminatory towards a person because of their sexuality, but not for any other reason.  After all I am sure Mrs Wilkinson would not have turned away a mixed race couple, any more than anyone else reading this would.  So why a gay couple?  Why is one action indefensible, whilst Mrs Wilkinson's behaviour to some is defensible?  That is why it is important that these issues are discussed and brought to the attention of the wider community.  It is only then, that people's predjucies will be broken down and attitudes will change.  Only then will people begin to understand how hurtful such discrimination is.  We are all human beings at the end of the day and as such should show our fellow man/woman respect regardless of their gender, sexual preference, religion or colour.

On a slightly more light hearted note, what I do find amusing in all of this, is how Mr and Mrs Wilkinson turned a couple away from their inn.  Sound familiar?  Now that's ironic!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bagheera on March 22, 2010, 03:57:08 PM
I think this whole discussion does open up a far wider subject of why people find it ok to be discriminatory towards a person because of their sexuality, but not for any other reason.

But the consensus seems to be that it is okay to discriminate against a person on the basis of their religious beliefs but not their sexuality.

I agree entirely with you that there needs to be respect for one another's views.  I don't know about you but I am appalled at the homophobic comments that the thread on Yahoo has raised (okay I can guess that we are in agreement on that).

But in many ways that is my point. This seems to have aroused an undercurrent which I suspect is equally abhorrent to Mrs Wilkinson.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Simes on March 22, 2010, 04:03:24 PM
Bagheera, please can you explain how the Wilkinsons are being discriminated against in any of this?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: MLP on March 22, 2010, 04:11:49 PM
Not at all, far from it.  I am not discrimating against anyone.  If she doesn't want gay people under her roof, as I have already said, that is her decision.  However, there is a law in this country to protect gay people against such discrimination.  End of story.  Can't be argued against becasue it exists.  Is the law discrimnatory? I don't know.  What I do know is that it protects some very vulnerable members of our society, and is, therefore, in my mind a good law.

I fail to understand how you think she has been discriminated against anyway.  No one has said the Wilkinsons can't practice their faith.  No one has burnt down their place of worship.  No one has turned them away from a B&B because they don't want Christians sharing a bed under their roof.  And the last time I looked, the Ten Commandments do not insist that thou shalt not have gay adult men in your house as paying guests.  So where have Mr and Mrs Wilkinson been discriminated against?  What has happened is some sensible and fair minded people have actually said, hang on a minute we don't like this behaviour and we consider it to be wrong.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Showem on March 22, 2010, 04:32:33 PM
Well said MLP.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bagheera on March 22, 2010, 05:07:15 PM
From the Wilkinsons point of view, they are not actually discriminating against gay people by doing this, they are discriminating against a particular activity.  They would, I presume, see it in the same way as not permitting smoking in their home (maybe a bad example since that would be illegal now anyway but it illustrates my point).

They make the discrimination because their faith says they may not have two men (or presumably women) share a bed in their home.

If we then say, as, through the Law, we do, "because of that you cannot run a bed and breakfast at all", we are discriminating against them on the grounds of their religious beliefs.

I agree that the only alternative is to discriminate against these two gentlemen but whichever you choose it will favour one party over the other and that is discrimination.

So I agree with MLP that the vulnerable should be protected and we do need laws to do that.

But there needs to be a trade off.  If you want to see what happens if one side insists on asserting their wishes without regard to the conflicting sensitivities of others, look at Northern Ireland, or Kosovo, or Gaza, or Baghdad.

Attacking the Wilkinsons may harm them but, like Newshound, I do not think it will further the cause of the attackers.

There are few better recruiting sergeants and a martyr and I suspect there are those whose views really are extreme that may see it as an excuse for action that none of us, including the Wilkinsons, would condone.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: MLP on March 22, 2010, 05:39:52 PM
But Bhangeera no where in the bible does it say that 'thou shalt not allow gay men to share a bed in your B&B'.  There are a few comments here and there, but the over riding teachings are to love the sinner and hate the sin.  Fair enough.  But it would seem the Wilkinsons decision was purely made on a belief that homosexuality is wrong.  I back this argument up by the fact we have freinds who have stayed at the B&B in the past (twice and both times had a very comfortable stay).  However, they are not married, lapsed Catholic and have a child.  They were not, however, turned away by the Wilkinsons.  They were not even asked if they were married.  They were instead welcomed into their property and their money gratefully accepted.  Why so?  Could it because they are heterosexual and therefore, 'normal'?  So on the one hand the Wilkinsons using their religious convictions to turn away two gay men from their B&B.  However, on the other hand we have an unmarried couple who have obviously had sex before marriage being accepted, when the Bible is probably a lot more explicit in it's teachings of no sex before marriage etc.  This is why I find it so difficult to understand why you are still trying to defend their discriminatory behaviour.  If they are going to use their religious convictions as a reason to bar people this should extend to anything and everyone who does not fit into what they consider to be acceptable to their beliefs.  Anything otherwise smacks of hypocrisy. 

However, I am confidentthings will change.  It's not so many years ago that being illegitimate carried huge social stigma to all involved, but things change.  So, as I have said before, hopefully by having this dialogue people will start to reflect on their 'convictions' and see how they may be seen as discriminatory.  Rome wasn't built in a day.

As for your reference to Northern Ireland etc the one common link in all of them is religion.......


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Simes on March 22, 2010, 05:51:33 PM
From the Wilkinsons point of view, they are not actually discriminating against gay people by doing this, they are discriminating against a particular activity. 


I imagine after a good night of dinner & theatre, the only "particular activity" the guys were hoping for was a good night's sleep in a comfy bed!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Ricardo on March 22, 2010, 05:51:50 PM
This will be my last post on this subject because, by now, it's easy to see where we all stand and circular arguments lead us nowhere. So I shall just ask this: Bagheera, next time I invite my friends to see a play in the village I am proud to call home, what shall I do?

Only invite my heterosexual friends (as an actor, this may be difficult!)?

Invite my homosexual friends but advise them they may not be able to stay?

Advise the local B&Bs to include information on their website as to their religious views and who may or may not be welcome in their establishment (certainly the phrase 'a warm welcome to all' on the Swiss B&B website now seems a little disingenuous)?

Advise all my friends, when making their bookings, to declare all activities and pecadiloes that may be distasteful to some?

And I think the most telling quote from the Bucks Free Press article, below, is 'We would say actually we obey other laws, we obey God's laws.' This is the kind of woman you're defending, Bagheera, someone who considers herself above the law. Substitute the word 'Allah' for God in the above quote, and would you still be so tolerant?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Pongo on March 22, 2010, 06:07:01 PM
From the Bucks Free press:

http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/5076144.Gay_row_hotel_owners__we_ll_defend_our_views/ (http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/5076144.Gay_row_hotel_owners__we_ll_defend_our_views/)

It looks as if it has also made Twitter, as well as African TV not to mention all the UK national press, radio and TV.

I suppose if the church can get away with homophobic and even misogynist thinking I can understand the lady in question feeling she can too.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: hcm2000 on March 22, 2010, 06:23:02 PM
The B&B owner was wrong to turn the guests away, lets just clear that up first.  It's not something I would ever have done as I am a gay man myself.

But let's be sensible here.  What do the two men hope to achieve be going to the police?  All the aggro and drama created has only worsened the situation.  I mean, there are so many worse things that can happen to you than being turned away from a guest house.  Yes, its illigal to discriminate in this way.  But why not just accept that some people have different viewpoints - it was her home after all.

The B&B owner is certainly paying for her action, albeit silly ones.  But her views will not change now, and if we REALLY want to beat homophobia, then we must show people that we can be mature and rise above all the daft people who disagree with us, not be silly drama queens and make the situation a whole lot worse.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: hcm2000 on March 22, 2010, 06:27:41 PM
I also want to add that the lady was not abusive and she refunded all monies.  What more do you want?

Please, lets show people that gay people can be just as mature.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: AndyP2001Z on March 22, 2010, 06:42:04 PM
Darth Vader - you seem to have missed the point - when you're in Britain you need to adhere to the laws of Britain. When you're running a business - you need to adhere to the laws that apply to running that business. Turning people away because they are gay is just the same as turning people away because they are black, or because they have a disability - it's unlawful ... and if you break the law you have to face the conseqences - it doesn't matter whether you agree with the law - that's it - fact - end of!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: MLP on March 22, 2010, 06:45:41 PM
we must show people that we can be mature and rise above all the daft people who disagree with us, not be silly drama queens and make the situation a whole lot worse

Is that so hmc?  What about the Suffragettes?  Were they silly drama queens?  Or all the men and women who fought for equality for gays and lesbians?  Were they drama queens?  Or the American Civil Rights Movement? Or the Jews and anti-fascists who joined together on Cable Street to fight Oswald Moseley and the Black Shirts/  Were they drama queens?  I believe some even died for their beliefs.  Sometimes, you have to make a bit of a noise to be heard.  Only then do things change.  Not that I am suggesting descending on the Wilkinsons with placards or marching up and down Cookham High Street.  But these guys are well within their rights to go to the police and take this matter further.  And why should they 'just accept it'?  To you it may not seem the worse thing to happen, but you are looking at it objectively.  You weren't being turned away from the B&B.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: hcm2000 on March 22, 2010, 07:16:37 PM
Oh get real!

And if they wanted to 'make a bit of noise' then there are far more sensible ways of going about it.

Yes, she was wrong to break the law, but by blowing this out of all proportion, are the two men really any better than her?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bagheera on March 22, 2010, 07:38:49 PM
Ricardo

I am sorry if we have to fall out over this.  I took up the Wilkinsons' position because I felt they were being pilloried and, whilst you may think it was deserved, I can see the other side of the argument.

It think it is a genuine incompatibility of beliefs and conscience.

I can see ways that it might have been handled better by both sides but am not looking at it on the spur of the moment.

I do not think the fact that the Wilkinsons are unable to condone the lifestyle of your friends and feel unable to accept them sharing a bed in their home makes them homophobes or that your friends are "christianophobes" because they disagree.  And as far as I can tell, neither side welcomes "phobic" hysteria that seems to be lending allegiance.

I fear that an incident of this nature was probably an inevitable consequence of a law which does not recognise such incompatibilities and allows the rights of one to automatically trump those of another.

The Wilkinsons behaviour seems to amount to Civil Disobedience.  As MLP has observed, there is a long history of it - if it had not happened then homosexuality might still be illegal.

Of course if you engage in Civil Disobedience you have to face the consequences but I hope that this incident might lead to a more constructive way for the gay and evangelical Christian communities to resolve their differences and, even though they will probably never see eye to eye, learn to live and let live.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bagheera on March 22, 2010, 10:40:59 PM
Well at least gayguy is not discriminating - it seems he hates us all!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: coolmoonriver on March 22, 2010, 11:02:05 PM
i support the swiss cottage for not allowing 2 men to sleep together under their roof. good for you !!!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Footie on March 23, 2010, 07:43:18 AM
Dear All,

Has anyone else noticed,despite the vigorous debate on this subject,with over 1100 viewings,this is the only serious thread without any comment from that ex Cookham resident now living in Canada.
 


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Cat on March 23, 2010, 08:08:45 AM
BBC NEWS WEBSITE TUESDAY 23rd 2010

'New survey says most gay people suffer "hate crime"

Most gay and transgender people do not report attacks against them

Most lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been verbally abused and a third physically attacked, according to a new survey.

The statistics from Stonewall Scotland suggested most people did not report the incidents to the police.

A quarter of those surveyed said they viewed verbal abuse as part of life as a gay or transgender person.

The findings come just before a new law is introduced which aims to tackle hate crimes against gay or disabled people.

The legislation which will be implemented on Wednesday will take a tougher line on crimes which have been motivated because of the victims' sexuality or gender orientation, or because they have a disability.
   
We're working with the police to give people the confidence to come forward and report crime
Carl Watt
Stonewall Scotland

Carl Watt, director of Stonewall Scotland, said: "Too many people in Scotland experience hate crimes, and many don't report it because they think it won't make a difference or because it happens on such a regular basis."

Stonewall's survey suggests that 88% of people who experienced verbal abuse did not report it, and 61% of those physically attacked did not inform police.'

The remainder of the article can be viewed on the BBC's website.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Simes on March 23, 2010, 08:12:43 AM
Footie, I was thinking exactly the same. Let's watch this space though....there's still time!!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: arty on March 23, 2010, 09:41:39 AM
Well this issue has been on all the national TV news broadcasts and today in the newspapers. The gay couple were obviously distressed by their experience and it seems to me that the B & B owners have no inkling of how hurtful their actions were. This to me is strange indeed since all they will say is they have strong Christian beliefs. Sorry- but what branch of Christianity is this?  Certainly NOT  the kind that i try to live by so don't go quoting the Bible  as the excuse or i might be tempted to think of a few quotes of my own. The obvious one that springs to mind: -there was no  room for them in the Inn-
 


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: kingfisher on March 23, 2010, 09:59:14 AM
Dear All,

Has anyone else noticed,despite the vigorous debate on this subject,with over 1100 viewings,this is the only serious thread without any comment from that ex Cookham resident now living in Canada.
 

He probably subscribes to '' Straights Monthly '' as well as ''This England''..  ::)


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: CH on March 23, 2010, 10:26:21 AM
Has anyone else noticed,despite the vigorous debate on this subject,with over 1100 viewings,this is the only serious thread without any comment from that ex Cookham resident now living in Canada.

 ;D Had been thinking the exact same thing.  Almost worried about him ... maybe he's on his winter holiday.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Footie on March 23, 2010, 10:33:00 AM
CH you might be right..if you are here's to a longer Canadian winter than usual!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: BioTappedIn on March 23, 2010, 10:43:55 AM
I agree Arty. I can't figure out what part of Christianity teaches us to exclude?  As far as I understand being a Christian is to be ‘Christ-like’. Of the stories that I know Jesus always embraced those that others turned their backs on - much to the irritation of the disciples. Jesus was the guy who was inclusive not exclusive and I just can’t reconcile citing ‘Christian’ beliefs as a justification for exclusion.

I do hope the owners of the B&B reconsider their stand on this.

As a Cookham resident I am embarrassed and disappointed at what has happened. It is my belief that what has happened is more out of fear than any belief.  On a positive note at least we have laws that encourage tolerance; we just need a bit more education now!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Cookham Webmaster on March 23, 2010, 12:41:01 PM
From Mr D.B. south wales uk  

I would like to pass on my support to the two people running the hotel,
people must stand up for what they believe in ..I have nothing against gays but people should be able to say no if they wish ..we are supposed to live in a free country but it seems we are free to do as we are told by this government....


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: dsc on March 23, 2010, 02:11:51 PM
As a gay man living in Cookham I was shocked and saddened by the actions of the Swiss B&B of Terry's Lane just around the corner from where I live.  They have discriminated against people on the grounds of their sexual orientation and this is illegal under the The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007. Similar laws, incidently also make it illegal for people to dicriminate on the grounds of religion or belief.

I will always now be pestered by unsettling thoughts as I pass by this establishment on my many walks around the area. I have often walked hand in hand with my boyfriend along this lane and I shall be a little less comfortable doing so now that I know there are still people nearby who condemn me.

I hope that the publicity surrounding this issue will enable the owners to become more enlightened about their attitudes to people who are different to them and I regret the support some people have given them on this forum. My money is as good as anyone elses and its rude, upsetting and unfair to be treated in this manner.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Thomas Lee on March 23, 2010, 02:42:53 PM
From Mr D.B. south wales uk  

I would like to pass on my support to the two people running the hotel,
people must stand up for what they believe in ..I have nothing against gays but people should be able to say no if they wish ..we are supposed to live in a free country but it seems we are free to do as we are told by this government....

You are entitled to you view - I have mine. If the gay couple in question were staying under your roof as your guests, then you have the option to allow them to stay, or not. But if you are operating a commerical B&B, then your options are more limited.

It is indeed a free country - you can do what (well nearly) you want in the privacy of your home. But when you are operating a commerical venture there are indeed laws that restrict your options.



Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Showem on March 23, 2010, 03:01:59 PM
Let's clarify things. I'm pretty sure that post written by the Webmaster wasn't the Webmaster's opinion. It is quoted as being someone in Wales. I imagine Mr. "D.B." didn't want to register to the forum to voice an opinion and the Webmaster simply posted an email that was sent.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: CH on March 23, 2010, 04:01:04 PM
Yep that's what I read it as.

Sometimes the Webmaster posts things on other people's behalf and I assumed that's what it was.

Bit odd Mr DB in Wales can't do it himself ... but there you go.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Michael on March 23, 2010, 05:15:39 PM
John and I are disgusted by the abuse and threats that the Wilkinsons have apparently received. We strongly condemn that, and certainly haven't had any hand in it.

We've been amazed at the publicity this incident has received: on Monday we did 11 interviews (5 TV, 4 radio and 2 newspaper), and there are more lined up. The main point we've made is that we're not attacking the Wilkinsons' right to hold their beliefs, even though we strongly disagree with them. We're attacking the notion that those beliefs somehow put them above the law. If they, or other B&B owners, aren't prepared to provide their service to whoever books rooms, they should consider a career change.
 
The support we've received has been staggering - not only from the media and friends, but also from complete strangers. We've even had five offers of free accommodation from B&Bs and families wanting to make up for what happened.

It's been very interesting following this thread, and again, many thanks for all the support we've received here.



Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Cookham Webmaster on March 23, 2010, 05:31:08 PM
You are right Showem and CH. I have made the name larger so people don't get muddled! As CH says cookham.com sometimes has e-mails which people are not sure how to post onto the discussions board themselves.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Thomas Lee on March 24, 2010, 12:31:18 PM
Let's clarify things. I'm pretty sure that post written by the Webmaster wasn't the Webmaster's opinion. It is quoted as being someone in Wales. I imagine Mr. "D.B." didn't want to register to the forum to voice an opinion and the Webmaster simply posted an email that was sent.

Agreed  - I misread it (and had several complaints that suggested I was not alone). I apologise to Liz - she was just passing on a comment, not making one. I have updated my comments to direct them where appropriate. Apologies for my misreading.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Thomas Lee on March 24, 2010, 12:32:51 PM
You are right Showem and CH. I have made the name larger so people don't get muddled! As CH says cookham.com sometimes has e-mails which people are not sure how to post onto the discussions board themselves.

My apologies - I mis read your post. I have adjusted my comments!

Sorry.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: DerBish on March 29, 2010, 12:38:08 AM
A lot of responses to this topic have centred around the limitation placed upon the proprietors because their B&B is a business.  But surely when you run a business you are allowed to set your own rules.  Some B&Bs don't accept pets, some only take stays of 2 days and over, etc.
If this proprietor's personal convictions are so strong that they make the call not to accept same sex couples in the same bed, and are willing to accept the consequences, then they should be free to do so without having threats made against them to have their house burnt down.
In my view the gays concerned were a bit naive in not mentioning their situation at the time of booking; they might have been legally in the right, but you would have thought they would want to check that they would be welcome.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: cookhamjames on March 29, 2010, 09:25:21 AM
"The Gays" - you wouldn’t say "The Blacks" if it were racially motivated or perhaps you would.

DerBish - What world do you live in?

What exactly do you suggest homosexual people should do these days? Phone ahead before popping to the supermarket to make sure the manager is OK with gay people shopping?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Simes on March 29, 2010, 09:34:14 AM
Well said cookhamjames. DerBish. maybe you would like "the gays" to wear a pink triangle or is that a bit old fashioned?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: MLP on March 29, 2010, 09:51:10 AM
Perhaps if the Wilkinsons had identified themselves as being prejudiced and willing to flout the law then "the gays" in question wouldn't have booked and none of this would have happened!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Thomas Lee on March 29, 2010, 11:02:53 PM
A lot of responses to this topic have centred around the limitation placed upon the proprietors because their B&B is a business.  But surely when you run a business you are allowed to set your own rules.  Some B&Bs don't accept pets, some only take stays of 2 days and over, etc.
If this proprietor's personal convictions are so strong that they make the call not to accept same sex couples in the same bed, and are willing to accept the consequences, then they should be free to do so without having threats made against them to have their house burnt down.
In my view the gays concerned were a bit naive in not mentioning their situation at the time of booking; they might have been legally in the right, but you would have thought they would want to check that they would be welcome.

My understanding is that whilst you could make rules regarding length of stay, pets, etc - discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (and other things) is not allowed.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 04, 2010, 04:25:08 PM
Can anyone confirm the pair that were refused a bed by the Swiss lodge owners are in a civil partnership ?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: furbylad on April 04, 2010, 04:47:24 PM
As a gay male who served in the milletery before homosexuality was legalised i dont see what the problem is with the swiss saying no to a gay couple that is theyer riight as owners. Maybe people would be more acseptable of gays if we didnt try to shove it down theyre throats(no pun intended). How many gay hotels make straights welcome!!. So good for you the swiss stand up for what you belive. to the winging gays this is why people dont like us!!!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: wannabe on April 04, 2010, 07:06:18 PM
Can anyone confirm the pair that were refused a bed by the Swiss lodge owners are in a civil partnership ?

I presume that when you read the topic that you missed the fact that one of them had posted on here. If you look at page one you can send a pm and ask.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 04, 2010, 07:39:03 PM
I presume that when you read the topic that you missed the fact that one of them had posted on here. If you look at page one you can send a pm and ask.

I wouldn't agree that the 'one of them' that had posted as 'one of them' is indeed fact, but I will try the avenue you suggest.

In all the articles written by the media in the past couple of weeks since this all kicked off, there is no mention of the official status of Michael Black and his partner, as far as I can gather. It would settle those forum discussions over the legal standing of the B+B hosts, leaving only those posting their objections on the grounds of morality to remain.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: wannabe on April 04, 2010, 08:15:08 PM
The status of their partneship will make no difference.

It is unlawful to turn away customers because of their sexual orientation. It is also unlawful to advertise in a way that implies that customers of a particular sexual orientation are unwelcome.

However, it is not unlawful to provide commercial goods and services that are likely to be of more interest to people of a particular sexual orientation than to others of a different sexual orientation.



Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 04, 2010, 09:48:37 PM
The status of their partneship will make no difference.

It is unlawful to turn away customers because of their sexual orientation. It is also unlawful to advertise in a way that implies that customers of a particular sexual orientation are unwelcome.

However, it is not unlawful to provide commercial goods and services that are likely to be of more interest to people of a particular sexual orientation than to others of a different sexual orientation.

Actually it makes all the difference. When it comes to staying overnight, the owner of any establishment (including overnight sleepers on trains) has a legal requirement to question bookings and bed arrangements, refusing customers that are unwilling to prove their relationship in law. This is to remove the chance of prosecution of the guesthouse by allowing activities such as adultery, incest and/or underage relationships. It does not distinguish between the heterosexual and homosexual.

From my hotel days I recall it was also necessary to provide separate fittings within the bathrooms for his and hers, but integration into Europe, and the smaller room aspect of many has now made this redundant.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: John O on April 05, 2010, 10:23:54 AM
As one who is about to return to " a little bit of heaven" in the next few weeks.( after 7 years away) How sad it is that bad publicity
welcomes me back. Could not believe the stories in the press over the last few days.The one wonderful thing about Cookham is (was) that the various religions are so involved in the village life. Never a sign of bigotry or doctrinaire attitude ( in my experience anyway) by any of the clergy. Most of my chums in Cookham seem horrified at the ignorance of a "hotelier" (the press's word not mine) not knowing the basics of his industries legal requirements. I look forward to the steam of one liners that are bound to follow these stories.
Did you hear the one about the gay guys who discovered that "Swiss Cottaging" isn't what they thought it was.
Perhaps humour can ease the shame! ( Ok Ok thats not humour, but you know what I mean)
 


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: wannabe on April 05, 2010, 04:54:04 PM
Quote
Actually it makes all the difference. When it comes to staying overnight, the owner of any establishment (including overnight sleepers on trains) has a legal requirement to question bookings and bed arrangements, refusing customers that are unwilling to prove their relationship in law. This is to remove the chance of prosecution of the guesthouse by allowing activities such as adultery, incest and/or underage relationships. It does not distinguish between the heterosexual and homosexual.
I'm sure you will be able to supply the relevant law that relates to this. ???


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 05, 2010, 06:47:14 PM
I'm sure you will be able to supply the relevant law that relates to this. ???

I may not need to http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/your_rights/civil_rights/taking_action_about_sex_discrimination.htm#where_sex_discrimination_is_not_unlawful

‘Small dwellings’ exception
It is not unlawful to discriminate on grounds of a person’s sex in a ‘small dwelling’ or for sub-letting accommodation where:-
•the proprietor or a close relative is also living there; and   •there is shared accommodation with other people living there; and  •there is not normally accommodation for more than two households as well as the proprietor’s own, or six people in addition to the proprietor.

And from the CAB Advice sheet on sexuality
- 'If you are in a civil partnership, a provider of goods or services cannot treat you any differently from a married couple'.

So all Mr Black and friend have to prove is that they are in a civil partnership, as I suggested a few posts back. If they cannot, then they have no legal entitlement to a double bed


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Oliver01 on April 05, 2010, 07:58:16 PM
I have been following this story with interest.  Clearly the owners of this B&B have religious beliefs and these should be respected as we  respect other religious beliefs in this grossly "politically correct" country of ours. What is the point of prosecuting these hard working individuals  who are merely trying to earn a crust?  OK they may have commited an offence by ignorance, big deal!! I note the Police are investigating and no doubt the gay couple will also seek civil redress from the B&B. I also hope the Police are investigating the nasty individuals that have threatened them by phone, e mail and post!! It is an offence to make threats to kill and to send threatening correspondence but you know I doubt it its just not PC to prosecute gays is it ??!! >:(


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Pongo on April 05, 2010, 07:59:44 PM
Can you refuse people a double bed if you think it is for prostitution? I did hear on the news this weekend that you could not discriminate against same sex couples if they were renting a room in the public areas of your private residence.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 05, 2010, 08:57:51 PM
Can you refuse people a double bed if you think it is for prostitution? I did hear on the news this weekend that you could not discriminate against same sex couples if they were renting a room in the public areas of your private residence.


Yes, a hotellier can (and had to back in the 80's/90's unless you were willing to undergo presecution for profiting from the proceeds of crime).

As for the second question, the answer is in one of the responses above.

However, our local constabulary freebie chart confirms that without providing proof of identity at the door, the houseowner has the right to refuse entry to anybody.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: wannabe on April 05, 2010, 10:43:41 PM
Kiki is confused about this between sex and sexuality. In housing there can be an element of sex discrimination in a small home but not on the basis of someones sexuality in providing goods and services. The reference and links that kiki provides make this clear.
Repeated below.
http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/your_rights/civil_rights/taking_action_about_sex_discrimination.htm#other_types_of_discrimination (http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/your_rights/civil_rights/taking_action_about_sex_discrimination.htm#other_types_of_discrimination)

For example from the CAB fact sheet
If you're in a civil partnership, a provider of goods or services can't treat you differently than it would treat a married couple. Goods and services available to unmarried opposite-sex couples must be available to same-sex couples not in a civil partnership.

From the same fact sheet
Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs
Same-sex couples can't be refused entry or prevented from booking a double room.

Housing
Communal accommodation
It is not unlawful to discriminate on grounds of a person’s sex in the provision of some types of communal accommodation, for example, a women’s refuge. Communal accommodation is defined as:-
accommodation which includes dormitories or shared sleeping facilities which, for reasons of privacy or decency, should be used by one sex only; and
accommodation which should be used by one sex only because of the toilet and washing facilities available.

‘Small dwellings’ exception on sex discrimination.
It is not unlawful to discriminate on grounds of a person’s sex in a ‘small dwelling’ or for sub-letting accommodation where:-
the proprietor or a close relative is also living there; and
there is shared accommodation with other people living there; and
there is not normally accommodation for more than two households as well as the proprietor’s own, or six people in addition to the proprietor.



Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: wannabe on April 05, 2010, 10:54:06 PM
Quote
However, our local constabulary freebie chart confirms that without providing proof of identity at the door, the houseowner has the right to refuse entry to anybody.

A householder has the right to refuse entry to anybody with or without proof of identity unless they are holding a warrant. We are talking here about a business providing accomodation as a service.



Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 06, 2010, 09:23:16 AM
Kiki is confused about this between sex and sexuality. In housing there can be an element of sex discrimination in a small home but not on the basis of someones sexuality in providing goods and services.

Wannabe contines to be confused about the data that has been provided

The links provide clear confirmation there is to be no discrimination between same-sex partners in a Civil Partnership, and married couples. Additionally there should be no discrimination between non-related same sex partners and non-married couples. The two pairs are, however not treated the same in UK law.

To reiterate from the last page
'All Mr Black and friend have to prove is that they are in a civil partnership, as I suggested a few posts back. If they cannot, then they have no legal entitlement to a double bed'.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 06, 2010, 09:37:37 AM
A householder has the right to refuse entry to anybody with or without proof of identity unless they are holding a warrant.

Which is also somewhat short on the truth.

The emergency services (with the aid of the police), plus the Gasboard(well, Transco/National Grid), and the Armed forces can enter a household without a warrant if they have prior knowledge of a life threatening/service fault, or national security issue, however they will more than likely have their identity to hand, plus something to batter down the door.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Mumofone on April 07, 2010, 08:19:27 AM
I can see both sides of this to be honest. One the one hand, to deny the Wilkinsons the right to uphold their religious values seems just as discriminatory. And to the poor couple who were refused the service at such short notice without the chance to find alternative accomodation easily, it must have felt awful as they just wanted somewhere to stay after a social event.

If you set your home up to make money out of it common sense says that you are going to encounter people who might not be your personal choice of guest, but surely that is the chance you take? And people can lie and book under a "married" name if they are off for an extra-marital liaison, you only have their word for it.

Perhaps the Wilkinsons shouldn't be in the business if their moral conscience is going to be compromised. I think the way this couple have been villified is extremely cruel. They may have acted insensitively and naively, but they have a right to live according to their own conscience just as do the couple concerned, it's their choice of business that perhaps "doesn't fit".





Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: wannabe on April 07, 2010, 11:36:44 PM
Theresa May on question time manfully trying to defend the indefensible Chris Grayling... have they fallen at the first hurdle?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bertie on April 08, 2010, 02:01:53 AM
Even Private Eye has covered this story now.

As an aside, before the 'nasty party' chorus chimes out again, all but one of my openly Labour friends have issues of homophobia. Let's not kid ourselves that the Tories and their supporters are somehow the only ones with those sentiments. Remember the 2001 election? They were accused of playing the 'race card' by daring to mention that tighter controls on immigration may be in order. Remember the 2005 election? The Labour party were happy to publicly discuss the possibility. One minute they're racist, the next good old Tony was using the idea to 'win' another election.

It really doesn't matter what your political/religious leanings are. There are bigots and unpleasantness in most groups of people.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: wannabe on April 08, 2010, 06:31:20 AM
Quote
Even Private Eye has covered this story now.

As an aside, before the 'nasty party' chorus chimes out again, all but one of my openly Labour friends have issues of homophobia. Let's not kid ourselves that the Tories and their supporters are somehow the only ones with those sentiments. Remember the 2001 election? They were accused of playing the 'race card' by daring to mention that tighter controls on immigration may be in order. Remember the 2005 election? The Labour party were happy to publicly discuss the possibility. One minute they're racist, the next good old Tony was using the idea to 'win' another election.

It really doesn't matter what your political/religious leanings are. There are bigots and unpleasantness in most groups of people.
...and thats why when people reveal themselves as bigots they prove themselves unfit for office.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bertie on April 08, 2010, 08:38:42 AM
Unfortunately, then, I fear this country doesn't have anyone fit for office. Even the most saintly will have at least one opinion that someone else will find uncomfortable to live with.

The people at the B&B could be Nobel Prize winners, or once have worked as nurses. They could have said 'bring back foxhunting' or 'I like eating meat' or 'do you know, I'm really not that keen on Germans' or 'let's ban cars- surely the planet is more important than we are?' or ' I just don't understand this religion thing'.   In each case huge numbers of apparently nice people would agree AND disagree.

Current law has made criminals out of all of us.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: cookhamjames on April 08, 2010, 12:18:59 PM
I see in the Advertiser today that those with a religious standing think that they are above the law.

http://www.maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk/news/article-15738-good-friday-worshippers-booked/ (http://www.maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk/news/article-15738-good-friday-worshippers-booked/)


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Dennis on April 08, 2010, 09:40:44 PM
As part of a gay couple who lives in Cookham, shops in Cookham, has attended church in Cookham and regularly patronises the pubs and restaurants in Cookham I just want to be clear that I was as shocked as anyone to read this story.  The Cookhams are a friendly, welcoming community, with both a present and a history of inclusion.  One of the recently moved on clergy was gay and much loved.  The church has sponsored talks on gay issues.  This false dichotomy of Christianity and homosexuality that is being trumped up in the media really concerns me.  Cookham is a beautiful place (right on the Thames with a beautiful thousand year old church), with a wonderful history (a key river crossing since ancient times), a great arts culture (Stanley Spencer painted in Cookham and a museum of his work is on the high street) it has one of the best festive hat shops I've come across (tell me thats not gay!) fantastic restaurants (Maliks is one of Heston Blumenthals favorite places), the wine distributor's little shop on the high street is a secret gem full of bargains and the interior design shop in Cookham Dean has somehow pulled off a fusion of Ralph Lauren and Siegfried and Roy.  The Inn on the Green is owned by one of the producers of Iron Maiden for Pete's sake -- how much more camp can you get?  I am actually surprised more gay couples dont live here (imagine the dinner party possibilities...)  I would encourage people to come and see for themselves.  As far as the B&B goes, the poor dear is a bit behind the times and didnt know the details of all the rules that cover her business.  Thats been clarified for her.  Lets move on.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Whitburn on April 10, 2010, 09:50:56 AM
What a load of patronising old tosh. As this is a Cookham message board I think we already know about the likes of Maliks and the Thames.

I think the Wilkinsons have been persecuted enough already and way out of proportion. Ridicule and smartass suggestions don't help.





Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: MJ Saunders on April 10, 2010, 12:38:37 PM
It is clearly repugnant that the B&B owners have been subjected to a barage of unwelcome threats, which I am sure the residents of Cookham find deeply concerning.  It would appear we are left with two issues after these very regrettable events :

1.  Those who seek to provide goods & services to the public should be mindful of the current law and understand that they cannot discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation.  Whether they agree with this requirement or not, it is the law and should be respected.  Disagreements with the law should be directed to law makers in Westminster & Brussels, not to members of the public who reasonably expect to receive the protection offered to them by current laws.

2.  As I indicated on this board in the early days of this issue coming to light, a swift & simple apology from the B&B owners to the two customers they had offended may have resolved the matter, and may have avoided the furore of dubious publicity for the wonderful place in which we live.  This apology need not have compromised their sincerely held moral views, but it would have acknowledged that their choice of morals does not put them above the law.

MJ Saunders - RBWM Councillor for Bisham & Cookham


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 10, 2010, 02:21:35 PM

1.  Those who seek to provide goods & services to the public should be mindful of the current law and understand that they cannot discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation.  Whether they agree with this requirement or not, it is the law and should be respected.  Disagreements with the law should be directed to law makers in Westminster & Brussels, not to members of the public who reasonably expect to receive the protection offered to them by current laws.

Until Mr Black and friend are confirmed without doubt to have been tied in a Civil partnership, posting innacurate statements about those that provide public services (on any site) in no way draws a line under the legality of a B+B booking that includes a double bed. As a councillor, you of all people should know the importance of verifying all facts before making conclusions about how UK law affects your constituents.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: MJ Saunders on April 10, 2010, 02:33:25 PM
Good point ... but you appear to be suffering from the malaise which gives the legal profession such a bad reputation.  Namely, the law generally has a clear intent and those who seek to squeek through its unintended cracks are merely dancing angels on pinheads for their own dubious motives, when it is self evident what the law intends ... no discrimination in the provision of goods & services on the grounds of sexual orientation.  Unlike many of those who share my type of political position, I am fortunate to be gifted with the common sense I was born with.

MJ Saunders - RBWM Councillor for Bisham & Cookham


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 10, 2010, 03:12:44 PM
Laws do not have a 'general intent', they either achieve something or they do not.

However, I applaud your anti-discrimination stance and trust you will shortly be advising your Conservative leader that the promised married tax break will be offered to all those that believe they are a couple, regardless of whether they have tied the knot (or not). 



Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Pongo on April 10, 2010, 06:04:08 PM
MJ Saunders, the Bucks Free Press says

"He (sic Mr Black) said she apologised for turning them away and refunded their deposit, adding there had been no row and discussions were amicable."

It also seems she would have been quite happy for them to stay if they had space in other rooms. It was the double bed that upset her. So she does not seem to have treated them badly or rudely. I am still not one hundred per cent sure they would win in court as I assume if someone had brought a prostitute in or someone under sixteen they could then have been accused of allowing prostitution or sex with a minor. I am sure there is a grey area here.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Simes on April 10, 2010, 07:43:31 PM
Pongo, I've read & re-read your post. Please tell me you're not comparing 2 men in a gay relationship to prostitution & under-age sex.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Pongo on April 10, 2010, 10:49:57 PM
Simes, what I am trying to say, possibly badly, is that I think you can turn people away. Say a couple really is married and you suspect they are not and they can't prove it, from what has been mentioned on this thread it seems you can turn them away. Just like a pub can turn people away who are drunk (I think). I was looking at it from an academic point of view of the possibility of turning people away or do you have to take in everyone who wants to stay?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: wannabe on April 11, 2010, 12:24:28 AM
Yes the Licensing Act 2003 says it's an offence to sell or try to sell alcohol to someone who is already drunk, and the The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 says that you can't treat someone differenty because of their sexuality when you are providing a service, including accomodation.

The part below made very interesting reading!

The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007
Aiding unlawful acts
29.—(1) It is unlawful knowingly to help another person (whether or not as his employee or agent) to do anything which is unlawful under these Regulations.

(2) A person commits an offence if he knowingly or recklessly makes a false statement, in connection with assistance sought from another, that a proposed act is not unlawful under these Regulations.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under paragraph (2) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.



Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: wannabe on April 11, 2010, 12:30:18 AM
Quote
It also seems she would have been quite happy for them to stay if they had space in other rooms. It was the double bed that upset her. So she does not seem to have treated them badly or rudely.
That would have been an offence under the regulations because she/they would have been treating them less favorably than another couple because of their sexual orientation.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 11, 2010, 10:55:29 AM
Once again it is only certain parts of the media that are naming Mr Black and Mr Morgan as a 'couple'.

Indeed in post #4 of this thread, the poster 'Michael' uses the description 'boyfriend' (as opposed to 'partner') , and this is repeated on a Cambridgeshire forum wrt the incident.

Until the relationship is clarified, there is no difference in the stance held by the B+B host to the dealing of an unmarried pair that turn up on the doorstep, expecting to be able to sleep in a double bed.

Sexual orientation, or a breach of current Regulations does not come into it.


Does anyone know how the Wilkinsons are coping ?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Simes on April 11, 2010, 11:30:47 AM
Kiki1, A couple of my friends stayed at the Swiss B&B twice with no question about their married status. She is a divorced Catholic and their child was born out of wedlock. Please stop kidding yourself this has anything to do with civil partnership / marriage. If it was, the 2 guys would have been treated the same as other unmarried couples & given a double bed.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 11, 2010, 12:42:22 PM
Simes, the opening post is about compensation, or at least some form of written apology from the B+B by the friends of Ricardo.

'I understand they are to take action, but what recourse is open to them, legally?'

Your comparison wrt certain friends of yours that have stayed at the Swiss has little, if anything to do with a resolution to the opening question. However, you could always start another thread if you feel scoring a B+B double bed out of wedlock deserves some recognition.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Simes on April 11, 2010, 01:39:19 PM
Are you for real?!? I was simply responding to your comment above that "there is no difference in the stance held by the B&B host to the dealing of an unmarried pair..."


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Dennis on April 11, 2010, 01:40:43 PM
A few things to consider as a community of neighbors:

1.  As we have seen with the former Post Office, businesses in the Cookhams cant really survive on local custom only.

2.  When you type "Cookham Gay" into Google the first thing that comes up is this message string.

3.  For the sake of our wider business community, we might want to think about the impact on its branding we may be having.  As the Tory's found in the last election, being branded as the "nasty party" (largely a function of their former stance on the gay thing) didnt help.  I would hate to see a few isolated opinions contribute to having the Cookhams branded as the "nasty community".

Father Michael had a great sermon this morning on the importance of being a community.  Doesnt mean we always have to agree, but we do need to figure out how to remain a community.  I would go further and say we need to decide if we want to be a bedroom community that has go into Marlow or Maidenhead to do any kind of shopping or go to any restaurants of merit.  Regardless of the point on offer, folks generally like to avoid drama and controversy.     

Perhaps worth reflecting on.



Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 11, 2010, 02:50:56 PM
Are you for real?!? I was simply responding to your comment above that "there is no difference in the stance held by the B&B host to the dealing of an unmarried pair..."

Of which you have conveniently truncated the full sentence.

If your Catholic divorcee had been refused the room/bed of her choice, or perhaps a lesbian pair, (hell, why not include some eloping lovers, or a sleazy director, his starlet and some film equipment, not forgetting of course Mr Humbert and Ms Haze), what recourse would any of them have had against the owners ?

The Wilkinsons have the right to refuse (or accept) anyone in the absence of proof that those booking the room are a legitimate couple under UK law.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Simes on April 11, 2010, 03:54:30 PM
I only "conveniently" truncated your sentence to save typing it in its entirety. Using the whole sentence doesn't change my argument.

The Wilkinsons were happy to have unmarried heterosexual couples in their B&B, therefore they were discriminating on the grounds of the guys' sexuality. Since the 2007 Equality Act, they don't have the right to do this.




Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 11, 2010, 05:27:43 PM
I only "conveniently" truncated your sentence to save typing it in its entirety. Using the whole sentence doesn't change my argument.

The Wilkinsons were happy to have unmarried heterosexual couples in their B&B, therefore they were discriminating on the grounds of the guys' sexuality. Since the 2007 Equality Act, they don't have the right to do this.

If you had mentioned the Wilkinsons knew of your friend's marital status before offering the room, then maybe I would have to look further into the angle of compensation, but I doubt the question was asked, or the answer given upfront at the booking stage.

Anyhow this is a moot point as under the exceptions to the 2007 Act

Exceptions to regulations 4 and 5
6.—(1) Regulation 4 does not apply to anything done by a person as a participant in arrangements under which he (for reward or not) takes into his home, and treats as if they were members of his family, children, elderly persons, or persons requiring a special degree of care and attention.

(2) Regulation 5 does not apply to anything done in relation to the disposal or management of a part of any premises by a person (“the landlord”) if—

(a) the landlord or a near relative of his resides, and intends to continue to reside, in another part of the premises,

[/b]

So, in a nutshell, there is no chance of any recourse by Mr Morgan and boyfriend, unless they wish to take on the Crown for leaving out B+B's from the 2007 Act, and their partnership still needs to be clarified if they wish to persue their claim on an equal basis with either a married couple, or an unmarried one when it comes to booking and sharing a double bed.





Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: CH on April 11, 2010, 09:01:26 PM
OMG - am soooo bored of Kiki1 ... argh  ::)


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Simes on April 11, 2010, 09:21:32 PM
I think they might be related to a certain Canadian - they have a similar manner & way with words!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: wannabe on April 11, 2010, 09:24:09 PM
And a propensity to keep getting it wrong.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: wannabe on April 11, 2010, 09:36:28 PM
CAB advice booklet that Kiki referred to.
Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs
Same-sex couples can't be refused entry or prevented from booking a double room.
Can I be treated unfairly because of my sexuality?
If you're in a civil partnership, a provider of goods or services can't treat you differently than it would treat a married couple.
Goods and services available to unmarried opposite-sex couples must be available to same-sex couples not in a civil partnership.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: CH on April 11, 2010, 09:48:49 PM
I think they might be related to a certain Canadian - they have a similar manner & way with words!

Nooooooooooo!  Please say it's not true .....


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bertie on April 12, 2010, 01:31:57 AM
I can't get over how certain contributors to this forum still insist that genuine thoughts and convictions are wrong if they say they are. The ones accusing others of bigotry are just that themselves- bigots.

People can't help their feelings. We all must be allowed to think for ourselves, not have the government (and some posters on here) tell us how to do it. This is not Soviet Russia.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Simes on April 12, 2010, 08:33:15 AM
I can't get over how certain contributors to this forum still insist that genuine thoughts and convictions are wrong if they say they are. The ones accusing others of bigotry are just that themselves- bigots.

People can't help their feelings. We all must be allowed to think for ourselves, not have the government (and some posters on here) tell us how to do it. This is not Soviet Russia.

Bertie, of course people should be allowed to think for themselves (it would be a very boring world if we all thought the same) and sadly there will always be bigots in the world but when these opinions & beliefs determine who they will or will not do business with, it becomes discrimination. My opinion is that discrimination (whether due to race, gender, religion, sexuality or age) is wrong and I am glad that it is also against the law. 


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: wannabe on April 12, 2010, 03:42:00 PM
What Simes said.
It's not the thoughts and feelings that were a problem it's the actions.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Pongo on April 12, 2010, 04:24:28 PM
I think this discussion is actually on two topics Ricardo originally said I understand they are to take action, but what recourse is open to them, legally?. Some of us have been trying to reply to the question on legal action from the two gentleman's point of view, others are discussing whether people are bigotted or not.  


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bertie on April 12, 2010, 07:36:49 PM

Bertie, of course people should be allowed to think for themselves (it would be a very boring world if we all thought the same) and sadly there will always be bigots in the world but when these opinions & beliefs determine who they will or will not do business with, it becomes discrimination. My opinion is that discrimination (whether due to race, gender, religion, sexuality or age) is wrong and I am glad that it is also against the law. 

Simes, I take your well made point, but let's take religion, for example. There is very strong discrimination in favour of the Catholic Church. I'm not Catholic, and have no desire to see them in trouble. But when very senior members are closing ranks around one another to prevent the truth being told about child abuse, in the full knowledge that the law isn't strong enough to make them come clean, one can't help wondering why their rights are protected above the victims.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Simes on April 13, 2010, 08:52:02 AM
Simes, I take your well made point, but let's take religion, for example. There is very strong discrimination in favour of the Catholic Church. I'm not Catholic, and have no desire to see them in trouble. But when very senior members are closing ranks around one another to prevent the truth being told about child abuse, in the full knowledge that the law isn't strong enough to make them come clean, one can't help wondering why their rights are protected above the victims.

Sorry Bertie, I have read your last post several times and, much as I agree with your view of the Catholic Church, I fail to see what it has to do with my previous post.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Andmason on April 13, 2010, 11:17:52 AM
I must confess I’m not a Cookham resident nor have I ever visited nor even heard of the place prior to the last month, however I have been following this messageboard with interest.    I have also been pleasantly surprised and heartened by the majority of warm, friendly and reasonable comments posted on this board and I would certainly consider Cookham for a visit in the future (while obviously avoiding the Swiss B&B).  I see no need to reiterate all the sensible comments made by the majority of the posters.   
As a gay man who, just days before the story originally broke, had just booked three B&Bs in the west country for a weeks holiday with my partner in the summer I have a personal interest.    The idea of being turned away from a business just because of my sexual orientation is a distressing thought.  On booking the B&Bs I was neither asked my sexuality at the time of booking (nor did I offer it).  I am not naive enough to believe that there aren’t some deeply prejudiced people who would seek to treat me differently and unfairly based on my sexual orientation,  however I do find great support and comfort in knowing that I have the backing of the law in the minority of occasions where I will faced with such prejudice.

In response to Kiki1 who seems very excited by the legislation and specifically his last post I have set out my thoughts in detail below.  For those not interested in the legalities you should stop reading now!
The legislation is pretty clear cut and the B&B owners have broken the law irrespective of whether the couple are in a civil partnership..  There are three specific paragraphs/Regulations within the Act which may be of relevance and of which Kiki partially quotes:  Regulation 3, which talks about the overarching non discrimination of people on the grounds of their sexual orientation, Regulation 4 specifically relating to “Goods, Facilities and Services” and Regulation 5 pertaining to “premises”.  Paragraph 6, as Kiki says, contains some exclusions to Regulation 4 and some separate exclusions to Regulation 5. 

The couple involved would be potentially permitted to sue if they were discriminated under any of the Regulations, subject to the specific exclusions relating to that Regulation.  You don’t need to be able to sue under all three Regulations.    I agree with Kiki that that the exclusion he specifically highlights in bold means that the couple would be unlikely to be able to use paragraph 5 “premises”,
“(2) Regulation 5 does not apply to anything done in relation to the disposal or management of a part of any premises by a person (“the landlord”) if—
(a)   the landlord or a near relative of his resides, and intends to continue to reside, in another part of the premises”
It is clear from the wording of Regulation 4 and 5, that Regulation 5 is geared more towards circumstances where someone rents out a property acting as landlord and Regulation 4 covers scenarios such as a B&B (of which more later), but I agree in principle that Regulation 5 could apply to a B&B where a room is let out for a few days.  If so, as Kiki point out, the gay couple here would not be able to rely on this section of law because of the exclusion specific to Regulation 5.

However this exclusion applies only to Regulation 5 and does not apply to Regulation 4, nor does the unavailability of Regulation 5 to the Gay couple, preclude the possible applicability of Regulation 4.  As I state above Regulation 4 is where you would expect the law to protect the gay couple in question.  Regulation 4 applies in general to the provision of all goods and services to the public and even goes on, in sub paragraph 2 (of Regulation 4), to specifically give some examples ie
2) Paragraph (1) applies, in particular, to—
 (b) accommodation in a hotel, boarding house or similar establishment.
It is quite clear that a B&B would fall into a similar establishment to a boarding house.

As Kiki points out there is a specific exclusion for paragraph 4 too namely that
6.—(1) Regulation 4 does not apply to anything done by a person as a participant in arrangements under which he (for reward or not) takes into his home, and treats as if they were members of his family, children, elderly persons, or persons requiring a special degree of care and attention.

However although I concede the drafting of the clause is clumsy, on this exclusion does not apply to B&Bs or similar cases.  The exclusion relates to where a person takes a child, old person or someone with special needs into their home and treats them as member of their family.  It does not apply to situations where other persons taken into their home as in the case of a B&B.  Even if it did, there would be a strong argument that a B&B owner does not treat guests as if they are members of their family, but that is irrelevant as it is not what the exclusion is referring to. 

Therefore the couple in question could or should sue under Regulation 4 (and Regulation 3)  of the The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, irrespective of whether they are in a civil partnership or not.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: wannabe on April 13, 2010, 12:41:39 PM
What a well thought out and written post. Bravo. :)


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: cookhamjames on April 13, 2010, 01:06:48 PM
Ditto.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 13, 2010, 02:01:27 PM
Agreed. It is refreshing to see someone else respond in a way to answer the original posters question, rather than voice their own soapbox agenda.

However, I do believe the suggestion of the pair using Section 3 of the 2007 Equality Act to be a little forthright, owing to the following paragraph within it. (which I did highlight as key to any resolution within my opening post a page or two back)

(4) For the purposes of paragraphs (1) and (3), the fact that one of the persons (whether or not B) is a civil partner while the other is married shall not be treated as a material difference in the relevant circumstances.

Whilst I would accept that the Law as written could be argued by some as 'clumsy' or 'ambigous', -   in light of no other paragraph pertaining to any other form of relationship, other than 'civil partnership' or 'married', - a solicitor, barrister, or judge following the current Law to the letter would be unable to entertain anyone not in either of the above when persuing a case against somebody that they believe has contravened the 2007 Act under Section 3.


So we are back to the (original) question of whether Mr Black and Mr Morgan are tied in a relationship by law.
 


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Simes on April 13, 2010, 02:04:35 PM
Kiki1, do you live in Cookham?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 13, 2010, 02:05:58 PM
Kiki1, do you live in Cookham?

No, Canada  ;D


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: James Hatch on April 13, 2010, 04:01:46 PM
Sorry Simes. This KiKi Bird is trying to pin this one on me, no way am I touching it with a 40 foot barge pole. I bet this Kiki bird doesn't even know what a Beaver Tail is?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Andmason on April 13, 2010, 04:08:01 PM
Kiki,

I understand your argument but have to disagree.  While I think other sections of the act are clumsy in places, section 3 is far from it.  For the benefit of others the section, up to an including the part you refer to is:
Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
3.—(1) For the purposes of these Regulations, a person (“A”) discriminates against another (“B”) if, on grounds of the sexual orientation of B or any other person except A, A treats B less favourably than he treats or would treat others (in cases where there is no material difference in the relevant circumstances).
(2) In paragraph (1) a reference to a person’s sexual orientation includes a reference to a sexual orientation which he is thought to have.
(3) For the purposes of these Regulations, a person (“A”) discriminates against another (“B”) if A applies to B a provision, criterion or practice—
(a) which he applies or would apply equally to persons not of B’s sexual orientation,
(b) which puts persons of B’s sexual orientation at a disadvantage compared to some or all others (where there is no material difference in the relevant circumstances),
(c) which puts B at a disadvantage compared to some or all persons who are not of his sexual orientation (where there is no material difference in the relevant circumstances), and
(d) which A cannot reasonably justify by reference to matters other than B’s sexual orientation.
(4) For the purposes of paragraphs (1) and (3), the fact that one of the persons (whether or not B) is a civil partner while the other is married shall not be treated as a material difference in the relevant circumstances.

The whole thrust of the legislation and paragraphs 1-3 where the meat of the law is set out, are very clear that you can’t discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or indeed even perceived sexual orientation.  It is nothing to do with whether the gay or straight person is married, civil partnered, single, celibate or whatever.  For evaluating whether there is discrimination sub paragraphs a-d make it clear that you compare the person discriminated against to similar people of a different sexual orientation and see whether one person is disadvantaged.  There is the very reasonable concession that there must be no material differences between the two people of sexual orientation.

Paragraph 4, that you refer to, is merely an additional clarifying paragraph which seeks to put beyond doubt that the differences between a marriage and a civil partnership is not a type of material difference.   There is no explicit need for this paragraph but it helps to clarify that a person seeking to discriminate cannot say that you can’t compare a gay civil partners and a straight married couple and so the paragraphs 1-3 don’t apply.

To decide whether a gay couple not in a civil partnership have been discriminated against your reference point for comparison under section 3 would be a straight unmarried couple.  If a single gay person was discriminated against the comparison would be a single straight person.  (By the way the legislation works both ways so that if a gay establishment discriminated against a straight person there would be equivalent recourse under the law).

If the owners of the Swiss B&B had a policy of not allowing unmarried (or civil partnered) couples to stay in a double bed, they could be allowed to refuse the bed to the gay couple if they weren’t in a civil partnership, but to do this the onus would be on them to show how they have also refused straight unmarried couples.  Based on other comments here and all the comments I’ve read attributed to the Swiss B&B owners this is clearly not the case.  They discriminated not on the marital/legal status of the couple, but purely on the basis of their sexual orientation.    As an aside I find it laughable that their website still says that a warm and friendly welcome awaits all guests.

Therefore to return to my last post, the couple in question can rely on this legislation under Section 4 (provision of goods and services) which in turn references back to the definition of discrimination under Section 3.  I am sure the majority of lawyers, barristers and judges would agree.  If the couple don’t decide to pursue legal action I would wager a considerable amount of money that this would be because they want to avoid the hassle and further public limelight rather than on the basis of any adverse legal advice.  If they do go ahead with a case, I also strongly think that the Swiss B&B owners defence would not be regarding the wording of the Sexual Orientation Regulations, but rather some overarching right to practice religion under the human rights act or something similar (which I don’t think we should get into here).  I also think it’s pretty clear that they (ie the Swiss B&B) would lose.

One final point, if the relevant legislation were unclear (which I don’t think is the case here), under English law the judge would look at the original intention of parliament (through Hansard) in setting down the law.  This would also support the position that Parliament wanted to outlaw discrimination in cases such as the SwissB&B , but as I said this is not of importance as the law as written is clear enough.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Pongo on April 13, 2010, 04:27:14 PM
Thank you Andmason, that is really interesting regarding the legal side. I suppose the police will not be interested as it is a civil case not a criminal case. I assume the two gentlemen would not get legal aid automatically either, unlike our Expenses MPs!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Andmason on April 13, 2010, 07:14:09 PM
Pongo,  I agree with all your points and I can't believe the MPs got legal aid! 

I would imagine (but I'm purely guessing) that if they did bring a civil case it would be funded by a gay right group and similarly the Swiss B&B couple's defence would be funded by some christian activist group.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Bertie on April 13, 2010, 10:47:15 PM
Simes, I take your well made point, but let's take religion, for example. There is very strong discrimination in favour of the Catholic Church. I'm not Catholic, and have no desire to see them in trouble. But when very senior members are closing ranks around one another to prevent the truth being told about child abuse, in the full knowledge that the law isn't strong enough to make them come clean, one can't help wondering why their rights are protected above the victims.

Sorry Bertie, I have read your last post several times and, much as I agree with your view of the Catholic Church, I fail to see what it has to do with my previous post.

Apologies, Simes- I didn't make myself very clear. I was trying to point out that the fact that it's against the law (discrimination) doesn't stop the Catholic Church from doing it, nor does that fact apparently empower the law to do anything about it... i.e. they seem to be above the law. Just because something is unlawful does not mean those with the power to stop it will do so. Sorry, I'm tired and not making much sense (there's a baby in the house these days).  :'(  I'll shut up now as I think we generally agree.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 14, 2010, 12:09:13 AM
Andmason, it is the probably the intent that needs to be looked at in the first instance. Parliament hasn't done it's best in making many Laws absolute in the first draft.

I disagree on your logic to defining the individuals' marital status within Paragraph 3 as being irrelevant, though I understand where you are coming from. I am pleased though that you have distinguished between individuals and couples as this is fundamental to the way equality within the 2007 Law has been designed.

(And I doubt if the Wilkinson's claiming 'faith made us do it' in a court of law would stand up these days, even in Cookham.)  

If the friends of Ricardo are to initiate a case for discrimination based on sexual orientation, they would have to make
1) a claim of sexual orientation being the basis of refusal by the owners, or
2) a claim the owners perception of their sexual orientation being the basis of refusal.

[I believe 2) is a non-starter as Mr Morgan has confirmed Mrs Wilkinson was notified they were a couple on the doorstep.]

The Wilkinson's would then have to prove they were not discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation by refusing the double bed on the day, and therefore the booking.

In order to dismiss 1),  verifying the visitor books for all previous entries, plus records of all room cancellations since the B+B commenced trading would be required to compile a list of potential clients that may be of similar sexual orientation to Mr Morgan and Mr Black, from a total of both (all ?) orientations.

The need to verify the civil partnership is fundamental in not only improving the odds of a successful prosecution, but in obtaining a hearing in the first place. Without it they risk themselves being dismissed as legitimate claimants since they are not recognised in UK law as a couple in a joint claim for discrimination, despite booking as a couple. They could possibly only persue as individuals.

A) - As a verified couple in a Civil partnership, the B+B would have to prove they were not discriminating against Mr Morgan and Mr Black as a legitimate pair by refusing them a bed. The list of potential entries in the books which might allow the B+B to have the case dismissed is - probably - going to be rather small in this instance, that being the confirmation of a legitimate gay couple booking without quibble. (This could be a male, or female couple).
Additionally the number of any others in wedlock being refused a booking should also be a small number within the total. If any are found in the books the case of discrimination based on orientation would dissolve.  

However since orientation is based on an individual's state of mind, (not on whom they are currently with, who they book rooms with, or who they cannot sleep with), any single person being refused a bed would also need to be included as a potential victim in a discrimination case. Therefore it should be deemed unsafe for any court to assume that only couples (legal or otherwise) booking beds are the sole group that might be at risk.

There is, of course the possibility the Wilkinsons have refused some individuals without knowledge of any partner. (indeed they might have refused single known straight people staying in a single room at some point, but I digress).

Which leads to,

B) - If Mr Morgan and Mr Black are not a couple under UK law, then The Wilkinson's have a far higher chance of case dismissal, through the much larger potential of bookings of gay individuals being accepted at the B+B, and conversely the refusal of straight individuals, plus straight unmarried pairs being given the heave-ho.

The claim of discrimination owing to sexual orientation in path B) also leaves each claimant at a higher risk of being persued individually for costs following the press releases, police intervention and the loss of business to the B+B should one (or possibly both) case(s) be dismissed.

Since the Wilkinson family may, or may not have knowledge of letting in an unmarried couple, the claim by Simes earlier in the thread of a divorcee that booked a bed could be offered in favour of the B+Bs stance owing to the wider range of people they have allowed under their roof.  


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Simes on April 14, 2010, 08:58:35 AM


Apologies, Simes- I didn't make myself very clear. I was trying to point out that the fact that it's against the law (discrimination) doesn't stop the Catholic Church from doing it, nor does that fact apparently empower the law to do anything about it... i.e. they seem to be above the law. Just because something is unlawful does not mean those with the power to stop it will do so. Sorry, I'm tired and not making much sense (there's a baby in the house these days).  :'(  I'll shut up now as I think we generally agree.

Hi Bertie. Thanks, much clearer. I'm going to get off my "soapbox" & leave it to the legal eagles to battle it out. Andmason gets my vote!! Good luck with the baby!


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Ricardo on April 17, 2010, 10:47:15 AM
By way of a postscript, you might be interested to see our local MP's voting record on this (and other) issue(s):

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/theresa_may/maidenhead#votingrecord (http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/theresa_may/maidenhead#votingrecord) Click the word 'votes' to see more detail on each subject.

Not to mention the views of the man who, following a Tory victory, would be our next Home Secretary:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/conservative/7550775/Chris-Grayling-Christian-BandBs-should-be-able-to-turn-away-gay-couples.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/conservative/7550775/Chris-Grayling-Christian-BandBs-should-be-able-to-turn-away-gay-couples.html)


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on April 17, 2010, 03:11:56 PM
Statistics are like a drunk with a lampost. Used more for support than illumination.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Pongo on April 18, 2010, 02:17:24 PM
I am amazed to see Theresa May is moderately against equal gay rights. Also very strongly for the Iraq war and very strongly for replacing Trident. It makes you think. On the other hand I have just had Tony Hill's election literature through the door and it is more like something for a local councillor, what about our hospital, pensioners or pensions even? I am not sure parking charges in Maidenhead are one of my main worries at the moment, compared to the general state of the economy.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on May 16, 2010, 02:30:51 AM
Hold onto your hats, it's started.

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/Gay-couple-set-to-sue.6297005.jp



Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Mumofone on May 17, 2010, 07:00:48 AM
Taking this thread onto a slightly different tangent (if that's OK), a couple of weeks ago there was a programme called Three in a Bed, about different B and B owners in competition with eachother. Well, one of the owners had a B and B exclusively for gay clients.

Given the lambasting of the Wilkinsons, I wonder at the legality of discriminating against heterosexual clients. What do readers here think? To me, it seems that discrimination is highly selective, you can have gay pubs and clubs for example, but not heterosexual ones. Not that I mind, I think people should leave eachother be, whatever their orientation, I hate bullying of any kind. Which is why I think the Wilkinsons have had enough "punishment" already. Suing them is in my opinion a form of extreme bullying. They could easily get a written notice outlining the law, and if they choose to ignore it and do the same again, well then maybe take further legal action, but they are now being bullied in a way that is very cruel, regardless of the original matter.

The victim has now turned tormentor and the Wilkinsons are now the victims of discrimination. It's all got way out of hand and is very childish IMO. It just fuels the problem and does nothing towards people having peaceful co-existence.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Tendereyes on May 17, 2010, 11:33:03 AM
I watch Three in a Bed and I think you'll find that the bed and breakfast in Bournemouth - Hamilton Hall - go to great lengths explaining on their website, the reasons why they are a "men only" retreat for gay and bisexual men. They also state that they are non-profit making business. I'm not sure how they manage to avoid all the laws/rules but perhaps by the disclaimer on their site this is how you do it.
Does anyone know?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Roger on May 17, 2010, 12:54:50 PM
Perhaps under civil law someone could complain, but as Hamilton House make it very obvious for whom they cater, no one has bothered to take them to court, as it would be at their own expense.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Mumofone on May 17, 2010, 04:09:21 PM
I hear what you say, but surely the whole matter is about the illegality of discriminating against someone on grounds of sexuality. Had the Wilkinsons stated on their website that they were ardent Christians and therefore certain sections of society fall foul of their beliefs then the situation would still be that they are discriminating illegally.

I just want to flag up that the Wilkinsons have been subjected to a hideous campaign in the media, and the men turned away are CHOOSING to punish this couple still further by pursuing a legal action, causing more long term damage to the Wilkinsons than they experienced by this event.

Although the Wilkinsons acted wrongly in my opinion, what has been demonstrated towards them is far more ugly and I have heard much hypocracy in this case. I think it is clearly a case of double standards.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Showem on May 19, 2010, 09:00:41 AM
Mumofone, the gay B&B you mention has a statement on their website about their men only policy. They quote S.46 SDA,
Quote
Discrimination by non profit making voluntary bodies in restricting their membership to one sex or providing benefits to one sex only in accordance with their main object. Discrimination in the provision of facilities or services to avoid serious embarrassment to users which would be caused by the presence of members of the opposite sex. Communal accommodation - residential accommodation which includes dormitories or other shared sleeping accommodation, can be restricted to one sex only for reasons of privacy and decency or because of the nature of the sanitary facilities available.

and claim they are non-profit, which would fulfil this requirement.(see http://www2.hamiltonhall.info/contact/frequently-asked-questions.html if you want to read it all yourself) Somewhat different than a B&B that is supposedly open to all.

I'm not sure about this "hideous campaign" by the media against the Wilkinsons. Can you provide us with any examples? Everything I've read has simply stated the facts.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: NeonPants on May 20, 2010, 03:56:14 AM
There is nothing I can say on this matter that won't get me flamed to Cockmarsh and back by the good people of Cookham. 

Can we please get back to the serious business of CCTV cameras for Alfred Major, Cookham get cooking, school places, WI cake sales, the Fabulous Shirtlifters Clivedon scandal, the next book sale at Pinder Hall, Let's see how much history we can dig up?, and the usual complaints about air traffic, travelers, late night parties, litter, dog mess, parking, car break-in's, doorstep distraction robbers, the rudeness of the staff at Malik's, yobs, and making fun of James Hatch?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on May 21, 2010, 12:06:27 PM

I'm not sure about this "hideous campaign" by the media against the Wilkinsons. Can you provide us with any examples? Everything I've read has simply stated the facts.

About a month ago there were various low quality chat-sites (Buzz , Facebook etc) where many entries ranged from 'put the B+B out of business by booking rooms online and cancel on the night', to 'burn her house down, that'll teach her'. I believe the B+B website was also a target of hacking plus the abuse.

The wonderful thing about the Internet is that threads can be moderated (albeit somewhat later) so that the abusive and threatening posts can be censored and in many cases removed.



Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on May 21, 2010, 12:08:06 PM
There is nothing I can say on this matter that won't get me flamed to Cockmarsh and back by the good people of Cookham. 

Can we please get back to the serious business of CCTV cameras for Alfred Major, Cookham get cooking, school places, WI cake sales, the Fabulous Shirtlifters Clivedon scandal, the next book sale at Pinder Hall, Let's see how much history we can dig up?, and the usual complaints about air traffic, travelers, late night parties, litter, dog mess, parking, car break-in's, doorstep distraction robbers, the rudeness of the staff at Malik's, yobs, and making fun of James Hatch?

They are on different threads, and this is an ongoing situation with a Cookham resident, so why ?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: michaelw on October 10, 2010, 10:31:28 PM
This case may soon be going to court, under the auspices of Liberty, and a good thing too.  Forget bankrupting the miserable owners, let alone using violence.  Let's establish that their stance is illegal, and then they can decide how they wish to run their business, if they still do.

There was an interesting quote from the joint proprietor, Mike Wilkinson, in the "Bucks Free Press" dated 22nd March: "We have a faith, we live according to that our faith is a Christian lifestyle.  We have values that are important to us and we feel we're responsible for and it makes it impossible for us to condone behaviour we don't agree with.  We're sorry they've been upset and we're upset.  It's a clash of two different points of view.  We're very sad that the state of the country is that such laws exist at all.  We would say actually we obey other laws, we obey God's laws.  We're not discriminating on race, religion or any other reason and we want to make it really clear we're not homophobic."

To repeat his crucial point, if he was accurately quoted, he said: "We're very sad ... that such laws exist at all ... we obey other laws, we obey God's laws".  That is an observation which could have been made by certain kinds of religious extremists, and is in total defiance of the democracy to which nearly all of us, I hope, subscribe.  I'm relieved to see from this correspondence that he does not have the support of the local clergy.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: michaelw on October 10, 2010, 11:27:36 PM
Sorry, just to add to the above, and also to comment on earlier posts, local council taxpayers aren't being asked to pay for the legal action.  It will be funded by Liberty as a test case, even if it goes to appeal.  But if the Wilkinsons lose, as seems likely, they will be liable for costs.  Surely they will wish to come to an accommodation rather than to be busted?  Or is this to come to a high profile dispute funded by religious extremists?

In passing, around 35 years ago I knew the then managing director of the quite recently founded Mothercare business.  He received a letter from a customer complaining that she had been served by a person of colour.  He replied, politely as always, saying that if she objected she should take her business elsewhere.

Nuff said?


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kate on October 12, 2010, 01:00:24 PM
Michael I'm slightly confused by your posting.

I absolutely agree this is an important test case to remove any ambiguity around this legislation, and I'm glad to see Liberty taking it forward as such. However, if the aim of the action is to redefine the legislation then what is the purpose of threatening the Wilkinsons with costs? Surely this will drive them to settle before the case reaches court in which case no precedent is set and the opportunity to test the legislation is lost (thus your comment: Surely they will wish to come to an accommodation rather than to be busted?).

I would respectfully suggest that if this is truly a test case then it should be established on a level playing field and driven to its fullest conclusion in order to clarify the law and discourage such disputes in the future. If on the other hand it is merely an endless pursuit of the Wilkinsons into bankruptcy then your tactics make perfect sense.

My personal view? I happen to think the Wilkinsons were sadly misguided in this instance, but until the legislation is tested to its fullest extent it remains just that, my personal view.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Mumofone on October 12, 2010, 06:08:55 PM
I agree the law should be crystal clear so in the future people who run a B and B cannot repeat this incident.

However, going after the Wilkinsons for money/costs on top of the public humiliation, media attention etc seems rather malicious IMHO. Where will it end? When they have to sell their home or have a nervous breakdown or something? Then it would be no victory at all, just a sad case ofn two wrongs not making a right.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Kiki1 on December 17, 2010, 07:00:22 PM
Surely they will wish to come to an accommodation rather than to be busted?  Or is this to come to a high profile dispute funded by religious extremists?

In the spirit of the season, and if I recall the story correctly, Mary and Joseph were refused accomodation a few times before accepting the refuge of a stable. Nothing extremist or religious about their circumstance at all, and there's nothing in the book about taking the other B+B's through any legal mangle with their mentor funding the process.

In passing, around 35 years ago I knew the .....snip..... politely as always, saying that if she objected she should take her business elsewhere.

Neither side is likely to use that in the case, which from the other thread is unlikley to go ahead.
(besides the Wilkinson's used something similar first time round)

http://www.cookham.com/forum/index.php?topic=1502.0


Nuff said?

More than enough, thank you.


Title: Re: I was shocked to learn...
Post by: Gira on February 22, 2011, 06:18:24 PM
I just wanted to offer my support to the two people turned away, and they should definatly get a nice settlement out of it. I don't think it matters if you beleive homosexuality is a sin or not--you don't get to discriminated based on who committed sin sinse no one can agree on what they entail.