Gay couple denied shelter during Rhodes wildfires

Fleeing the bushfires in Rhodes, Matt and Sean looked for a safe place to sleep. The owner of the offered shelter refused them and their child, because they were "not a family". He had expected a man and a woman.
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The British Sean Palmer (34) and Matt Smith (35) went on a family holiday for the first time with Matt's 6-year-old son. On the Greek Rhodes, however, the family was startled by the forest fires that raged across the island.

On July 22, Matt and Sean received an emergency message on their phone in the middle of the night. They had to evacuate as soon as possible. The flames were now visible from the balcony, while ash fell from the sky. They and many other tourists were taken care of in a school on the island. There they had to sleep on a towel, the couple tells the Daily Express.

The next day the family was offered a house to hide in while waiting for a flight back to Newcastle. However, when the homeowner arrived to pick them up, he said he was expecting a "family." Palmer explained that they were a family, but the homeowner said he expected "a man and a woman." He then removed the luggage from his car and left the family at the school.

 “I guess it’s up to them who they have in the house. You can’t really fault that, I suppose, but if we had been a man and a woman, we would have been given a house” said Sean. In the end, the family had to sleep in a homeless shelter.

The travel organisation has now reimbursed the couple for part of the costs and offered a voucher for a subsequent trip.

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