BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — Fresh from winning a civil case against a Christian bed-and-breakfast owner who refused them a double room in 2010 because of her religious beliefs, a gay couple is now taking on the leader of the rightwing British National Party (BNP), who called for a protest against the court decision and reportedly publicized Michael Black and John Morgan's address in Cambridgeshire, The Guardian reports.
According to the report, Nick Griffin, who is chair of the BNP and a member of the European Parliament (MEP), says in one message, "If anyone can give us address of the 2 bullying 'gay' activists who've won case v Christian B&B owners, we'll hold demo … for rights of all home owners, gays included, to rent or not rent rooms to whomsoever they wish."
Later on, Griffin tweeted that a "British Justice team will come up to [their Cambridgeshire address] & give you [Black and Morgan] a … bit of drama by way of reminding you that an English couple's home is their castle. Say No to heterophobia!"
He told The Guardian he didn't make the couple's full address public but identified only the road, adding, "I merely pointed out to them [Black and Morgan] that we do know where
they live so if they do want to bully people there may be consequences."
Grifffin's statements sparked outrage. The Guardian quotes Andy Wasley, of gay rights group Stonewall, as saying "placing a street number and name on Twitter, with tens of thousands of
followers, as Mr Griffin seems to have, is clearly a decision that he
either didn't think about very much, or he thought about a little too
much. It was an alarming decision and that couple must have been deeply
distressed by it."
Cambridgeshire police say that they are looking into the matter after receiving complaints about Griffin's tweets and that officers have been in contact with the couple, who fired back at the BNP leader on BBC Breakfast Oct 19.
"Certainly, the public response to the incident, when it happened two
and a half years ago, and again in the last 24 hours, has been
overwhelmingly in support of our stand against discrimination, so
hopefully that will mean the vast majority of the people in the country
will just see what an idiot Nick Griffin is and reject his views," Black says.
Meanwhile, the owner of the bed and breakfast, Susanne Wilkinson, who was ordered to pay 3,600 pounds in damages to Black and Morgan, is considering appealing the ruling. "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," she says, according to The Guardian.
The court indicated that while it recognized the sincerity of Wilkinson's beliefs, she had treated Black and Morgan "less favourably than she would treat unmarried heterosexual couples in the same circumstances" and so had broken equality law, the report notes.
Landing image: bnp.org.uk