Bristol

Gay couple challenge Cornwall B&B accommodation refusal

Gay couple Steven Preddy (left) and Martyn Hall outside Bristol County Court
Image caption The hearing at Bristol County Court is expected to last two days

A gay couple from Bristol have appeared in court alleging sexual-orientation discrimination after they were refused a double room at a Cornish B&B.

Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy are claiming up to £5,000 in damages at Bristol County Court.

Peter and Hazelmary Bull, who run the Chymorvah Private Hotel in Marazion, said they had a policy of banning unmarried couples from sharing a bed.

The Bulls, who are Christians, deny the claim brought under equality laws.

Mr Bull, 70, and his 66-year-old wife say their policy - operated since they bought the hotel in 1986 - is based on their beliefs about marriage and not a hostility to sexual orientation.

Mrs Bull told the court that the couple's faith meant they did not believe in sex before marriage and would not allow it under their roof.

"We accept that the Bible is the holy living word of God and we endeavour to follow that."

Making legal submissions, their barrister James Dingemans QC said: "It is not part of the defendants' case to undermine the rights of same-sex partners.

'Hotel policy explained'

"The defendants do submit their policy is directed to sex and not sexual orientation and is lawful."

Mr Preddy told the court he had booked a room over the phone after looking at the hotel's website and had not seen its room policy, which was displayed only on its booking form.

When he and Mr Hall arrived at the hotel he said they did not see any prominent Christian tapestry in the hallway.

"When we arrived we spoke to a lady and she got Bernie Quinn [a worker at the hotel] to come and talk to us and explain the hotel's policy," he said.

"I would say the body language wasn't great and it was clear we were not welcome in the hotel," Mr Preddy added.

After being turned away, they reported the Bulls to the police, the court was told.

The case was adjourned until Tuesday.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites