Christian B&B couple lose appeal against discrimination ruling

Published 27 November 2013  |  
PA
Peter and Hazelmary Bull were ordered by a court to pay Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy £3,600 after refusing to accommodate them in a double room at their guesthouse.

The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by Christian B&B owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull who held a policy that only married couples were allowed in their double bedrooms.

The Bulls were taken to court by gay couple Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall, who claim that the policy is homophobic and breaks equality laws by discriminating against homosexuals.

Previous court rulings found the Bulls to be guilty, and ordered them to pay £3,600 in damages. Their appeal against this ruling - funded by the Christian Institute, a national charity that defends the civil liberties of Christians - was today dismissed.

Three judges found the Bulls' policy to be directly discriminatory against gay people, while two judges said it was indirect discrimination, but was unjustified.

Mike Judge, spokesman for the Christian Institute, said "What this case shows is that the powers of political correctness have reached all the way to the top of the judicial tree. So much so, that even the Supreme Court dare not say anything against gay rights."

He labeled the ruling "a slap in the face to Christians", and argued that "the elite institutions are saturated with a liberal mindset which cares little about religious freedom."

Speaking outside the Supreme Court, Mrs Bull said that she and her husband are "deeply disappointed and saddened by the outcome."

"We are just ordinary Christians who believe in the importance of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Our B&B is not just our business, it's our home. All we have ever tried to do is live according to our own values, under our own roof."

She went on to stress that they bear no grudge against the couple who sought legal action against them, and they mean no hostility towards gay couples.

Mrs Bull echoed the words of Mr Judge, saying "Britain ought to be a country of freedom and tolerance, but it seems religious beliefs must play second fiddle to the new orthodoxy of political correctness.

"We appealed to the Supreme Court to introduce a bit more balance when dealing with competing rights of sexual orientation and religious liberty.

"Somehow we have got to find a way of allowing different beliefs to coexist in our society."

Though the couple have been forced to put their property, in Marazion near Penzance, up for sale after business suffered as a result of the ongoing court case, and have received multiple death threats and have suffered vandalism to their home, they maintain their stance on the policy and say they have no regrets.

"We are not perfect people, but we are trying to do our best to live out our faith with honesty and consistency. And we will continue to do that come what may," Mrs Bull finished.

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