KINLOCHEWE, Scotland — The owner of a bed and breakfast in Scotland has been taken to court over language on his website suggesting that he would not bed homosexuals, and that he believes marriage is defined solely as the union between a man and a woman.
Tom Forrest, 70, is the owner of Cromasaig Bed and Breakfast in Kinlochewe. In 2004, he became the center of controversy when he declined to allow a man’s request for a room at the facility since it involved a homosexual relationship.
According to reports, Forrest advised that “two gents” would only be permitted to book a room with separate beds as homosexual relationships are “unnatural” and a “sexual deviation.”
Following the matter, to clarify his policy, he included the phrases “family and heterosexual friendly” and a photo image depicting “man + woman = marriage” on his business website.
In 2010, Forrest explained to reporters that his policies don’t have anything to do with religion, but rather nature itself.
“I will refuse point blank to allow them to share a double bed,” he said. “I do not approve of the homosexual act and any act of intercourse should be between a man and a woman. It’s nothing to do with the Bible; it’s to do with nature.”
Forrest noted that he has homosexual friends and they respect his position as a business owner.
“I feel it’s about time that people decided to live and let live,” he stated. “What you want to do under your own roof is your own business. What I want to happen under my own roof should also be my business.”
But as his stance became public, Forrest began receiving messages that he deemed to be inappropriate.
“Since then we have been bombarded by offensive emails. The worst stuff has been put on our Facebook page,” he told the Sunday Herald last year. “A lesbian woman had claimed she had slept with a partner in one of our single beds. That just isn’t true and I later noticed that the woman in question was having a laugh with her friends about it.”
The Equality and Human Rights Commission soon took Forrest to court over the text on his website, insisting that he was in violation of the U.K. Equality Act. It sought to have him remove the messages and photos from his website.
A hearing was held on Friday in Inverness Sheriff Court over the matter, and Forrest agreed to remove the language at issue while the case moves forward in court.
“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,” a commission spokesperson said, according to the Press and Journal. “We [had] 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,” they stated.