British National Party leader Nick Griffin was strongly criticised today after tweeting the address of a gay couple who had earlier won a court case against a christian bed and breakfast owner.
Mr Griffin tweeted the Cambridgeshire address of Michael Black, 64, and John Morgan, 59, who earlier won a case in Reading County Court after alleging they suffered “unfair discrimination” when they were refused a room at the B&B in Cookham, Berkshire, in 2010.
The Member of the European Parliament also tweeted that the couple would be visited by a “British Justice Team” which would give them “a bit of drama”. Lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall told Channel 4 News that it has advised the couple to contact the police.
Two hours before he sent the tweet, Mr Griffin had used the social networking site to ask if anyone knew the address of the couple. He said that if it could be found “we’ll hold demo [sic] for rights of homeowners, gays included, to rent or not rent rooms to whomsoever they wish”.
Later on he tweeted the following:
Why don’t left & gay activists confront Muslims instead of picking on meek & forgiving Christians? Bullies are always cowards!
— Nick Griffin MEP (@nickgriffinmep) October 18, 2012
Response to the tweets were resoundly critical, with people commenting on Mr Griffin’s tweet that he was “despicable”, “pathetic” and a “scumbag”.
Ruth Hunt, director of public affairs at Stonewall, said: “We are shocked and disgusted that any comment like this can be put into the public domain. It is indicative of how we need to be protected online as well as in public life. We have suggested that the two men call the police.
“It is shocking and the like of which we have not seen in along time. It’s incredible that he can do this.”
A court today ruled that the couple had suffered direct discrimination at the hand of B&B owner Susanne Wilkinson, after they were refused the bedroom despite having booked in advance and paid a deposit.
Mrs Wilkinson said she had denied the pair the room because it was “against her convictions”. The court heard that she did not want to provide the couple with a room because she believed she would be facilitating sin by allowing sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage to take place under her roof.
James Welch, legal director of Liberty, who supported the couple on their case, said: “Liberty defends the rights of religious groups to manifest their beliefs, even when we disagree with them.
“But it is simply unacceptable for people running a business to refuse to provide a service because of someone’s sexual orientation.
“Hopefully today’s ruling signals the death knell of such ‘no gays’ policies – policies that would never be tolerated if they referred to a person’s race, gender or religion.”