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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 June, 2004, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
B&B denies gay couple double room
visitscotland.com advert
The tourist board said it gave Scotland a bad name
A Highland guest house owner who refused a gay couple a double room because of their "perversion" has been stripped of his recommended status.

Scotland's tourist authority, VisitScotland, has removed the Cromasaig guest house, Kinlochewe, Wester Ross, from its records.

The move came after owner Tom Forrest branded the couple "sexual deviants".

Mr Forrest said the "two gents", Stephen Nock and his partner, from London, could only book a twin room.

Sexual deviation

Mr Nock, 34, and his partner of five years, were told they could not stay in a double room in a guest house because their relationship was "unnatural".

The couple were hoping to stay at the guest house during a four-day walking holiday in the Highlands.

Mr Forrest offered to book the men into a twin room.

When Mr Nock threatened via e-mail to complain to the tourist authorities, Mr Forrest informed him: "We do not have a problem with your personal sexual deviation, that is up to you. You are welcome to our twin room if you wish, but we will not condone your perversion."

Mr Nock told BBC Radio Scotland: "That is just blatant discrimination, clearly.

Basically I pointed out that heterosexuals, a more natural breed, also have rights; extending to whom we allow to share a double bed in our home.
Tom Forrest
Guest house owner

"I'm seething with anger. It is shocking that these kind of attitudes still exist and if he's providing a public service then he should not discriminate on the grounds of race or sexual preference."

Gay groups, who were contacted by Mr Nock, have bombarded the guest house owner with e-mails complaining about his views.

Mr Forrest said that he had replied to the e-mails by saying that he was "shocked" when two males wished to share a double room.

"Basically I pointed out that heterosexuals, a more natural breed, also have rights; this extending to whom we allow to share a double bed in our home," he said.

Bad name

Mr Nock claims that he had no response from other B&Bs in the area, leading him to conclude that they hold the same views.

VisitScotland's quality assurance director, Tony Mercer, denied that sections of the Scottish tourist industry subscribed to the same views.

He said: "This is the sort of behaviour that really gives Scotland a bad name. I know a lot of operators are contacting us saying that they wish not to be associated with this sort of behaviour."

VisitScotland stripped Mr Forrest of his listing after he refused to back down.

Gay groups have called for a change in the law to outlaw such discrimination.


SEE ALSO:
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Hopes for a 6bn tourism industry
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28 Aug 03  |  Scotland
Early boost for tourism industry
20 May 03  |  Scotland


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