A judge in the United Kingdom has ordered the owners of the Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Berkshire to pay nearly $6,000 to two homosexuals for hurting their feelings by not allowing them to occupy a double bed.
The stunning penalty was delivered yesterday to Mike and Susanne Wilkinson, who explain the family lives their Christian life, “not just on a Sunday in church, but in every area of my life – as Jesus expects from his followers.”
The Wilkinsons were ordered to pay 1,800 British pounds, or about $2,900, each to homosexuals Michael Black and John Morgan.
In 2010, they tried to book a double bed in the inn, which also is the private home for the Wilkinson family. When they were refused, they sued under the U.K.’s discrimination laws.
The case was funded by the Christian Institute, which said the Christians have been given permission to appeal.
Susanne Wilkinson said she is thinking about doing that.
“Naturally, my husband and I are disappointed to have lost the case and to have been ordered to pay 3,600 pounds in damages for injury to feelings. We have the option to appeal, and we will give that serious consideration.”
Susanne Wilkinson said: “We believe a person should be free to act upon their sincere beliefs about marriage under their own roof without living in fear of the law. Equality laws have gone too far when they start to intrude into a family home.
“People’s beliefs about marriage are coming under increasing attack, and I am concerned about people’s freedom to speak and act upon these beliefs,” she told the institute.
She said all she was trying to do was live as a Christian.
“It’s quite wrong to punish me for that, especially after enduring over two years of vile abuse and threats,” she said.
Wilkinson and her husband say they have received “hundreds of emails an hour” and threatening phone threats and texts because of their faith.
Mike Wilkinson said, “One was hand-delivered and handwritten in capitals and said, ‘I am coming to burn your house down.’”
“We find this a strange justice in a society that aspires to be increasingly tolerant,” said Susanne Wilkinson.
The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said: “Yes, Mrs. Wilkinson’s B&B is a business, but it’s also a family home. The law should be more flexible in allowing people to live according to their own values under their own roof. A bit more balance is needed, rather than allowing one set of rights to automatically suppress another.”
They said they experienced not only arson and death threats, but obscene messages, bogus reviews, canceled bookings and other harassment. They said previously that in a Google review, someone encouraged others to come and smash up the house.
Although such cases in the U.S. are rare, two lesbians sued a Hawaiian bed and breakfast in a similar dispute.
The Swiss Bed and Breakfast website says guest will enjoy “first class hospitality in their spacious and comfortable home to business, tourist or family visitors from all around the world.”