Wilkinson says she was trying to uphold her sincere beliefs about marriage at the bed and breakfast in Cookham, Berkshire.
Although the judge believed she was genuine about her Christian beliefs—beliefs that had also caused her to stop unmarried heterosexual couples from sharing a double bed—he nevertheless ruled that the policy broke equality laws by discriminating directly against the gays.
The judge did, however, grant Wilkinson permission to appeal against the ruling.
“Naturally, my husband and I are disappointed to have lost the case and to have been ordered to pay £3,600 in damages for injury to feelings. We have the option to appeal, and we will give that serious consideration,” she says.
“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.”
As she sees it, people’s beliefs about marriage are coming under increasing attack. She is concerned about people’s freedom to speak and act upon these beliefs.
“I am a Christian, not just on a Sunday in church, but in every area of my life—as Jesus expects from his followers,” Wilkinson says. “That’s all I was trying to do and I think it’s quite wrong to punish me for that, especially after enduring over two years of vile abuse and threats. We find this a strange justice in a society that aspires to be increasingly tolerant.”
The Christian Institute, a national charity that protects the civil liberty of Christians, paid for Wilkinson’s legal defense.
“Yes, Mrs. Wilkinson’s B&B is a business, but it’s also a family home,” says Christian Institute Spokesman Mike Judge said. “The law should be more flexible in allowing people to live according to their own values under the own roof. A bit more balance is needed, rather than allowing one set of rights to automatically suppress another.”