Christian hotel owners sued by gay couple over marriage stance
Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Paddy are suing Peter and Hazelmary Bull for £5,000 on the grounds that they suffered “direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation”, reports The Daily Mail.
The Bulls, both Christians, say that they have had a long-standing policy of refusing any but unmarried couples the right to stay in a double room together in their hotel.
Mrs Bull, 62, noted that when her brother and his female partner stay at the hotel, they are also required to stay in separate rooms as they are not married.
The Bulls have had their “married only” policy since they acquired the hotel in 1986.
The hotel website states, “We have few rules but please not that out of a deep regard for marriage we prefer to let double accommodation to heterosexual married couples only.”
In August, the couple received a letter from Stonewall, in which the gay rights organisation said it had received a complaint and alleged that the hotel was breaking the law.
Then in September, Mr Hall and Mr Paddy called the hotel to book a double room for two nights. Mr Bull says he assumed the booking was for a man and his wife.
When the couple arrived, hotel manager Bernie Quinn said that the booking could not be honoured. Mr Hall and Mr Paddy said the decision was illegal and reported the hotel to the police.
According to The Daily Mail, Mrs Bull said, “I have had people clearly involved in affairs and under-age people who have tried to book in here for sex, and I have refused them the same as I refused these gentlemen because I won’t be a party to anything which is an affront to my faith under my roof.”
Tom Ellis, the Bulls' lawyer said, “Our argument is that the regulations impinge on the Bulls’ human rights … Under the European Convention on Human Rights, people are able to hold a religious belief and manifest it in the way they act.”
The Bulls are also being supported by the Christian Institute.