With the advent of same sex marriage becoming legal in Scotland, John and Stephen Devaney, who have been in a civil partnership since 2006, looked to becoming legally wed. Having entered into negotiations with Loch Lomond Waterfront, Balmaha, John thought he had found the perfect romantic setting for their wedding.
But when owners Charles and Suzanne Cottam realised they were dealing with a same sex couple, it suddenly became a different matter. Suzanne Cottam bluntly told John “We can’t allow people like you here.” and when John remonstrated that marriage is now a civil right in Scotland, Mrs Cottam retorted “I’m the owner. I can do as I like. A marriage should be between a man and a woman.”
Left reeling, and seeking an alternative venue, John Devaney told his story to Glasgow-based newspaper the Daily Record, so that others may know how they were treated. He told the newspaper “We’ve fought for many years for equal rights. That woman stripped me of them in an instant.”
Following the story however, another same sex couple, known only as Greig and John, contacted the Daily Record to tell how they too had been turned away by the Cottams for same sex wedding.
Like John and Stephen, Greig and John have been civil partners for four years, and looked to change their relationship to a legal marriage. To that end Greig emailed Loch Lomond Waterfront with enquiries concerning a same sex marriage. Charles Cottam replied by email, “it would be wrong to keep from you and your family our deeply-held religious beliefs and our sincere adherence to the traditional view of marriage. This is why we would prefer not to host a civil partnership wedding.”
Greig replied by email to point out that they wanted a wedding ceremony, not a civil partnership one, and to date has received no reply to date.
The Daily Record has since contacted the Cottams who deny the claims and that they are taking legal advice. Well, I certainly hope they are, considering that the Daily Record has published the email from Charles Cottam to Greig in full, and that the couple have now broken Scots Law on two occasions.
And I do hope that any resulting court action teaches the Cottams that they cannot refuse service on grounds of discrimination, that they cannot do as they like, and that any court case is costful to them in the extreme – hopefully to the point that it puts them out of business altogether. Frankly, we can’t allow people like them in Scotland.
Report in the Daily Record can be found here: