Christian guesthouse owners lose appeal of conviction on ‘gay discrimination’
CORNWALL, UK, February 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Christian couple who were fined £3,600 for refusing to allow two homosexual men to share a bed in their guesthouse, lost their appeal of the conviction in a ruling handed down by the Court of Appeal of England and Wales on February 10.
In upholding the conviction, Judges Sir Andrew Morritt, Chancellor of the High Court, Lord Justice Hooper and Lady Justice Rafferty, stated, “in a pluralist society it is inevitable that from time to time, as here, views, beliefs and rights of some are not compatible with those of others.”
The judges reiterated that not allowing homosexuals to rent a room amounted to direct discrimination in violation of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations-2007, and said they “do not consider that the Appellants face any difficulty in manifesting their religious beliefs, they are merely prohibited from so doing in the commercial context they have chosen.”
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Peter and Hazelmary Bull, who run the Chymorvah Private Hotel from their home, were taken to court in 2010 by Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy. The men had booked a room with the guesthouse as ‘Mr. and Mrs. Preddy’ but were turned away when they arrived and revealed they were a homosexual couple.
In her defense before the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) hearing two years ago, Mrs. Bull explained that because of her and her husband’s deeply held faith, they do not approve of any type of sex outside of marriage, and do not allow sharing of beds in their guesthouse by any unmarried couples, no matter what their “sexual orientation.”
Evidence presented at the EHRC hearing suggested that the Bulls may have been set up as a test case by the homosexual activist group Stonewall. The two men who attempted to book a room with them called only a month after the Bulls received a threatening letter from Stonewall demanding that they change their policy or risk being sued.
After the conviction the Bulls revealed in a January, 2011 interview with The Telegraph that they had been subjected to a deluge of offensive phone calls and blasphemous, obscene emails.
At the same time, extremely negative reviews of the Bull’s guesthouse had begun to surface on travel websites – reviews that Mrs. Bull said were clearly false, because the reviewers claimed to have stayed at the guesthouse during the winter, when it is closed.
Simon Calvert, spokesman for the Christian Institute, which funded Mr. and Mrs. Bull’s appeal, commented that under Britain’s equality laws, homosexuals are favored over people who believe in the Christian definition of marriage and sexual morality.
“Not everyone will agree with Peter and Hazelmary’s beliefs, but a lot of people will think it is shame that the law doesn’t let them live and work according to their own values under their own roof,” Calvert said, adding that, “Something has gone badly wrong with our equality laws when good, decent people like Peter and Hazelmary are penalized, but extremist hate preachers are protected.”
“Peter and Hazelmary have been penalized for their beliefs about marriage,” Calvert concluded.