A pair of Christian homeowners in Britain have refused to let gay couple, Lachlan Mantell and Luke Whitehouse view or buy their house because of their sexual orientation.
Whitehouse, 34, an education business owner, and Mantell, 37, a TV producer, have been together for the past eight years. They were keen on buying the £650,000 property.
Whitehouse and Mantell (originally from Adelaide) requested to view the house.
The homeowners, Luke Main, 33, a construction worker, and his wife, Dr Joanna Brunker, 34, a medical physicist at Cambridge University, asked the couple their “position” and “circumstances.”
They then sent a message via the selling website Purplebricks to the couple before they could arrange to view the house.
Advertisement‘Unwilling for Two Men in a Partnership to View or Buy Our House’
They wrote: “Dear Lachlan and Luke, thank you for sharing your circumstances with us.
“We’re sorry if we seem intrusive, but we just want to make clear that we would be unwilling for two men in partnership to view or buy our house, as it is contrary to the gracious teaching in God’s Word, the Holy Bible, e.g. Romans 1:24-28 and Jude 7 (King James Version).”
Romans 1:24-28 and Jude 7 are Bible verses about sexual impurity and depravity, and Sodom and Gomorrah.
My partner and I were so excited to begin our journey towards home ownership. This is why lgbtq+ pride, equality and legal protections matter. This is England in 2022. Do you support these sellers @PurplebricksUK @Purplebricks_CS ? 😔 pic.twitter.com/DTz44hEcyL
— Lachlan (@LachlanMantell) January 12, 2022
Whitehouse said to the Daily Mail, “initially, for the first 10 seconds, I laughed. I thought it was a joke. But then I was upset and angry and I had a cry on the phone to my mum.
“Homophobia still exists, it is still out there. I did not see it coming. I was blindsided by it.”
‘This Kind of Thing Happens and It is Not Acceptable’
Mantell told the BBC it was “disappointing” and to have that reaction “took the wind out of our sails.”
“We don’t wish the couple any ill will, we just wanted to get a message out that this kind of thing happens and it is not acceptable,” Mantell said.
“We’ve experienced homophobia before but this seemed like it was on a bigger scale,” Whitehouse said. “It was preventing us from progressing in our lives, not just a flippant remark. It felt like the biggest form of discrimination I’ve ever experienced.”
The online real estate agency has taken down the advertisement for the three-bedroom Surrey-based house from its website. It said the homeowners’ message was “completely opposed to Purplebricks’ views and values.”
A Purplebricks’ spokesperson said they have “contacted” the “seller to return their fee” and requested that they “sell their property with a different agent.” They also apologised to Mantell and Whitehouse for the experience.
The couple said they will continue to look for a new house and will not take any legal action against the homeowners for their comments.
AdvertisementHomeowners: Not ‘Ashamed of What We Said in Any Way’
Main told the Daily Mail, he would need to check with his wife before he could comment properly.
He added, “not that we’re ashamed of what we said in any way.”
Sasha Misra, Associate Director of Communications and Campaigns at the non-government-organisation Stonewall said, “it is shocking to hear that a gay couple were turned away from buying a property because of their sexuality.
“Gay people should be able to rent or buy property wherever they choose and should not expect to be treated differently because of who they love.
“Instances like this hark back to an era when it was commonplace to treat lesbian, gay, bi or trans people unfairly, refuse their custom or turn them away from accommodation – and it simply has no place in Britain today.”
— Lachlan (@LachlanMantell) January 24, 2022
If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.
For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14
For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.