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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

B and B owners say no to gay couples

Karen and Michael Ruskin, owners of Pilgrim Planet Lodge, have received death threats after they refused to allow a lesbian couple to share a double bed in their Bed and Breakfast in Whangarei, New Zealand. 

The engaged couple had booked a king size bed online and were shocked when Mrs Ruskin told them they had to share a room with two king-single beds instead.  They were offended and left.

Word of mouth spreads quickly and the owners know the bad publicity could hurt their business.  Mrs Ruskin said she was sorry for the couple's inconvenience but was standing firm on her morals and the sanctity of her home.  "It's our home - it's not a motel" she said.

Lesbian couple Jane Collison 30 and Paula Knight 45 were not amused and filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission and were surprised to discover that it had happened before. In 2010, a gay couple also complained to the Commission about the Ruskins, but found there was an exemption in the Human Rights Act that allows owners of residential accommodation to choose what goes on in their own homes.

"Everyone knows what homosexuality is" Mrs Ruskin said.  "It's quite clear if two guys rent one bed, you know what's going to happen, we have to protect our other guests."

The couple are Antioch Orthodox Christians and have a small chapel inside the lodge.  Mrs Ruskin said they do not discriminate against other religions and Muslim and Jewish people have always been welcome.

Michael Ruskin said they are open to advice from the gay community as to how to change the wording on their website but "only if they're genuine in helping us and respect our viewpoint."

They tell gay couples the rules when they arrive.  "We always explain to them that because of our values, we don't make provision for sodomy in our home" he said.