Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Bed and Breakfast owners fined for turning away gay couple

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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January 15, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - It is illegal in Britain for guesthouse keepers to refuse to allow two homosexual men to share a bed in their homes, according to a ruling by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in a test case sponsored by the country’s leading homosexualist lobby group.

Peter and Hazelmary Bull, devout Christians who own a guesthouse in a popular holiday resort in Cornwall, were ordered by the EHRC to pay a fine of £1,800 each to Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy, two men who had booked a room in September 2008.

The Bulls explained to the Commission that they have a long-standing policy of refusing double rooms to any unmarried couple, no matter what their “orientation,” at the Chymorvah Private Hotel in Marazion near Penzance.

Mrs. Bull commented after the hearing, saying she and her husband were “disappointed” with the result.

“Our double-bed policy was based on our sincere beliefs about marriage, not hostility to anybody. It was applied equally and consistently to unmarried heterosexual couples and homosexual couples, as the judge accepted,” she told media.

“We are trying to live and work in accordance with our Christian faith. As a result we have been sued and ordered to pay £3,600. But many Christians have given us gifts, so thanks to them we will be able to pay the damages.”

She added, “I do feel that Christianity is being marginalized in Britain. The same laws used against us have been used to shut down faith-based adoption agencies. Much is said about ‘equality and diversity’ but it seems some people are more equal than others.”

According to Judge Rutherford’s ruling the crucial factor in the decision was the fact that Hall and Preddy were in a legal civil partnership. Under recently passed equalities laws, civil partners must be treated the same as couples in natural marriages.

Judge Rutherford acknowledged that the Bulls had good reason to want to preclude what they regarded as immoral sexual activity in their home, but commented, “Whatever may have been the position in past centuries it is no longer the case that our laws must, or should automatically reflect the Judaeo-Christian position.”

A spokesman for the Evangelical Alliance responded to the ruling, saying, “Human rights law needs to face up to its current lack of fairness and inability to decide even-handedly where rights clash. This applies particularly to religious conscience and practice in public life.”

The case was one of the first to be brought by homosexualist activists against Christian hotel owners, under the Equalities Act 2008, a law put forward at the behest of the homosexualist lobby by Tony Blair’s Labour government. The situation of Christian bed-and-breakfast owners hosting homosexual couples in their homes was one of the possible scenarios discussed during the debates on the bill. The ECHR, similar in function to Canada’s Human Rights Commissions, was set up under the new law to administer cases of alleged discrimination.

During the giving of testimony, one of the Bull’s employees implied that the suit was a sting by homosexualist activists seeking to make an example of Christian hotel owners to establish a precedent under the new law.

Bernie Quinn testified that Stonewall had written to the Bulls a month earlier “advising” them to change their policies or face possible legal action. Quinn said that the two men gave false information to book a room that they knew would be refused when they arrived at the guesthouse. Quinn said that Preddy had presented himself as “Mrs. Preddy” when asking to book a double room.

The claimants’ barrister, Catherine Casserley, asked Quinn, “Are you suggesting this claim was a set-up?” Quinn agreed and said, “It is not beyond the realms of possibility. I have no proof other than the phone call.

“I cannot assume for them what their motivations were or weren’t. I assumed, going back to the phone call, that we were expecting a Mr. and Mrs. Preddy and what arrived was two gentlemen,” Quinn said.

Ben Summerskill, the head of the country’s leading homosexualist political lobby, Stonewall, praised the ruling, calling it a landmark decision. In a column in the Guardian he ridiculed the Bulls and mocked the idea that they had been “persecuted for their faith,” calling the suggestion “fatuous.”

However, some at the international level are less sanguine and are viewing the situation of British Christians with growing concern.

A Vienna-based human rights watchdog group issued a report last year tracking five years of anti-Christian incidents across Europe, including many that were motivated by newly enacted “equalities” legislation. The report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said that there is a growing recognition at the institutional level of discrimination and intolerance towards believing Christians.

In his closing remarks, OSCE Director Janez Lenarcic said that the organization has become well aware of “emerging issues” regarding equality and non-discrimination legislation and the difficulties faced by believing Christians.

In an interesting twist, one of Britain’s most prominent homosexualist campaigners, Peter Tatchell, has warned this week against “criminalization” of Christian opinion. Tatchell, a political libertarian, writing in a column for Pink News, the country’s leading homosexualist news source, referred to the recent arrest of Christian street preacher Dale Mcalpine, who was taken into custody for expressing his religious opinion that homosexual acts are sinful.

“Freedom of speech is one of the hallmarks of a civilized society. Mr. Mcalpine’s views were homophobic, but the fact that he was treated as a criminal for expressing them, shocked me… Mr. Mcalpine was neither aggressive, threatening nor intimidating. He did not incite violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people…”

Tatchell contrasted this with the speeches of Islamic extremists who have “advocated killing gay people and ‘unchaste’ women” and have “heaped hatred and abuse on Jews and Hindus.” Tatchell relates that when he organized a counter-protest at one rally of nearly 6000 Islamic extremists, he and the five members of his group were arrested, but only after they were threatened with death by the Muslims at the rally.

“In contrast to Mr. Mcapline’s case, the police did not drop the charges and apologise, let alone compensate us. It took nearly two years of lengthy, costly legal battles for me to finally win an acquittal.”

“Just as gay people should have the right to criticise religion, people of faith should also have the right to criticise homosexuality. When it comes to expressions of opinion, only threats and incitements to violence – and damaging libels – should be prosecuted,” Tatchell commented.


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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

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By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

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In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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