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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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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