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Author Topic: I was shocked to learn...  (Read 84514 times)
Ricardo
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« 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?
« Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 10:20:05 AM by Ricardo » Logged
Showem
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Posts: 363


« Reply #1 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.
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Cat
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Posts: 114


« Reply #2 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.
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Michael
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Posts: 4


« Reply #3 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.
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Cat
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Posts: 114


« Reply #4 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.
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Simes
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Posts: 117


« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2010, 10:44:38 AM »

As per Cat's post, we will no longer be recommending The Swiss. Shame on them.
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Joni
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2010, 11:22:43 AM »

I shall no longer be recommending this B&B to my visiting friends and family.
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aj
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Posts: 53


« Reply #7 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




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Michael
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Posts: 4


« Reply #8 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!
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MJ Saunders
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Posts: 27


« Reply #9 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.
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smokey1
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Posts: 183


« Reply #10 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.
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Newshound
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« Reply #11 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.

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CH
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Posts: 227


« Reply #12 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!
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Darth Vader
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« Reply #13 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.
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CH
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Posts: 227


« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2010, 10:13:12 PM »

.... um, no actually, she's not entitled ... it's against the law ....
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