England

Gay snub Cornish B&B owners lose Supreme Court appeal

  • 27 November 2013
  • From the section England

The Christian owners of a guesthouse who were ordered to pay damages for turning away a gay couple have lost their UK Supreme Court fight.

Hazelmary and Peter Bull refused to let civil partners Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall stay in a double room at Chymorvah House in Marazion in Cornwall in 2008.

The couple, who had already lost cases at Bristol County Court and the Court of Appeal, said they were "saddened".

Mr and Mrs Bull have said they regard any sex outside marriage as a "sin".

Steven Preddy (l) and Martyn Hall
Steven Preddy (l) and Martyn Hall were turned away by the Bulls in 2008

The Bulls denied discriminating against Mr Hall and Mr Preddy, who are from Bristol.

Sixty-nine-year-old Mrs Bull and her 74-year-old husband said their decision was founded on a "religiously-informed judgment of conscience".

Five Supreme Court justices ruled against them on Wednesday after analysing the case at a hearing in London in October.

In 2011 a judge at Bristol County Court concluded that the Bulls had acted unlawfully and ordered them to pay a total of £3,600 damages.

The following year the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by the Bulls following a hearing in London. The couple had asked the Supreme Court to overrule the Court of Appeal.

Mrs Bull said: "We 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."

'Political correctness'

Lady Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court, said: "Sexual orientation is a core component of a person's identity which requires fulfilment through relationships with others of the same orientation."

Mike Judge, from the Christian Institute, said after the hearing: "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."

Gay rights group Stonewall said in a statement: "We are pleased that the Supreme Court has defended the laws protecting gay customers that Stonewall fought so hard to secure.

"Some might suggest that, rather than pursuing this case, a far more Christian thing to do would be to fight the evils of poverty and disease worldwide."

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