Highland Landlord with “Hetrosexual Friendly” B&B agrees to change website in legal battle… but STILL won’t let gay couples in 3rd March 2017,
A HIGHLAND bed and breakfast owner who banned gay people from his premises has backed down and agreed to amend his controversial website which only welcomes heterosexuals.
But Tom Forrest has not surrendered in the first round of a legal battle to keep his Cromasaig B & B in Kinlochewe “family and heterosexual friendly.”
Tom Forrest refuses to cave to pressure in legal battle
Mr Forrest, who defiantly stated he would “rather go to jail than be forced by Scots law to take gay couples” was taken to the civil court in Inverness yesterday by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
After a brief private hearing at Inverness Sheriff Court, the Equality Commission confirmed its counsel, Dorothy Bain, was seeking an interim interdict to force the 70-year-old to remove comments and images from his website.
The Commission’s concerns related to the use of the term “heterosexual friendly” and the statement (in pictorial terms) “man + woman = marriage”.
But Mr Forrest is understood to have only hired a lawyer, Murray McCheyne, to represent him shortly before the hearing.
Neither would make a comment after Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood continued consideration of the Commission’s application until March 20.
This was to allow Mr Forrest to properly instruct his legal representative.
In the meantime, a Commission spokesperson confirmed that Mr Forrest had agreed to remove the contentious wording on his website temporarily while the legal battle progresses.
Neither Mr Forrest, Mr McCheyne or Ms Bain would comment after the hearing.
However an Equality Commission spokeswoman said: ‘We are pleased that Cromasaig Bed and Breakfast has agreed to remove these phrases from their website, until such time as the Court makes an order in relation to the matter. The Commission had received complaints which led to us having concerns that the phrases, in the context they were used, may be discriminatory. We asked Cromasaig to remove them but they were not willing to do so and so we took this legal action. We now await the Court’s decision after a full hearing in due course. This action is only about those references and of course Mr Forrest has to comply with the Equality Act.”
We’ve been bombarded by e-mails and reports to the police and goodness knows what else Tom Forrest
Mr Forrest’s stance has been a controversial one for over 13 years.
He has been flooded with e-mails from gay activists supporting the legislation that bans tourist operators from refusing homosexual customers.
Last year, Mr Forrest said: “We’ve been bombarded by e-mails and reports to the police and goodness knows what else. They’re hammering our online pages. I reported it to the police because I find these e-mails offensive.”
Mr Forrest said: “We can’t take the e-mail address down. We can’t remove the telephone number. My wife Liz is a first responder, anyway, so it’s effectively an emergency phone.”
Mr Forrest reaffirmed a declaration he made six years ago that he was prepared to go to jail than be forced by Scots law to accept gay couples at Cromasaig B&B.
Tom Forrest said he would “rather go to jail” than allow gay couples into his B&B
Kevin Crowe, a spokesman for the Highland Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Forum, previously declined to comment on Mr Forrest’s situation.
But, in relation to the legislation, he said: “Every business is now aware that they cannot discriminate against people. A lot of B&B owners, of course, work from home and some have claimed that because it’s their home they should be exempt. My view is that if their home is a workplace they should be covered by the same rules as every other workplace – that includes health and safety legislation and equality legislation.”
The issue first made headlines 13 years ago when Mr Forrest rejected a booking from a gay Londoner wanting a double room at his three-star rated business in Wester Ross.
A number of prominent church spokesmen also voiced their anger over the 2006 Equality Act which took effect last October with The Free Church publicly supporting Mr Forrest.
Highland B&B owner taken to court over his stance against taking same-sex guests .
- Bed and Breakfast Owner goes to court over website hinting Christian Times – 7 Mar 2017
- http://christiannews.net/2017/03/05/scottish-bed-breakfast-owner-taken-to-court-over-website-suggesting-refusal-of-homosexuals/ Christian News Network – 5 Mar 2017
- http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/05/23/heterosexual-friendly-bb-calls-the-police-after-enquiry-from-pinknews/ PinkNews – 23 May 2016
- B&B denies gay couple double room BBC News – 2 Jul 2004
- https://stv.tv/news/scotland/167877-row-continues-over-tory-bb-gay-ban-comments/ 5th April 2010
ONLY MY OPINION
IT IS HIS HOUSE & HIS HOME!
He has a right to deny anyone entry, for whatever reason. He is not attacking gay people verbally or otherwise. So I don’t see the problem.
I personally don’t want to be anywhere i’m not welcome. So if i were gay, i just wouldn’t go! Problem solved.
He is entitled to his opinion & he is entitled to allow or deny whoever he wants into his house. Isn’t he?
& as for those that are attacking him… SHAMEFUL. Whether gay, straight or non binary gender, I don’t care. THAT’S A HORRENDOUS WAY TO BEHAVE.
I have have been told, (although don’t know for certain) that the MSM are fertilising & spreadin more than a little bullshit….. ALLEGEBLEUGH
Before i’m jumped on, for MY OPINION I am not anti anyone (although i must admit i am a wee bit anti MSM!) But people have a right to their beliefs & opinions whether homosexual or heterosexual.