Christian minister sues hotel for shutting down conference defending marriage
April 9, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Northern Irish Christian minister is suing a hotel for discrimination after it shut down a conference he was holding there on the topic of marriage between one man and one woman.
In a video interview about the event, Rev. Harry Coulter said hotel staff from the Balmoral Hotel, located west of Belfast, interrupted his meeting held last October in support of marriage.
They told him some patrons of the establishment were “offended” by what was taking place.
Coulter currently serves as the minister at the Belfast Carrickfergus Reformed Presbyterian Church. He had paid for the use of the hotel’s Grand Ballroom to hold his event, titled “Marriage Matters,” which took place last year before marriage was redefined in Northern Ireland.
At the request of the hotel general manager, Coulter was told the meeting had to “stop immediately.”
“I offered to speak to the people that were offended, to speak also to the general manager to explain and try and clarify any difficulty that they had,” said Coulter.
However, Coulter said the staff insisted that the meeting had to stop, and there would be no discussion on the matter. He was given five minutes to wrap up the meeting.
Marriage in Northern Ireland was officially redefined legally to include same-sex couples in January of this year after extensive lobbying from many LGBT groups. Abortion was legalized in Northern Ireland on March 31 of this year.
Both same-sex “marriage” and abortion laws came about after the U.K. government imposed the changes on Northern Ireland after its local government collapsed. The United Kingdom redefined marriage likewise six years ago.
Coulter noted that those in attendance at his event, which numbered around 60 people, were in shock and disbelief that the meeting was shut down.
He went on to say people told him “we’re going to be gagged as Christians from expressing what is a biblical viewpoint, and a long-held viewpoint as well, that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
The incident left Coulter feeling “humiliated,” as if he was some sort of “criminal” and that he had done something wrong.
“I knew in my heart of hearts that I had not broken the law of the land, but it’s the impact that it had,” said Coulter. “It is important that people regardless of what their beliefs are, that they are able to express their opinions, their beliefs, and their views on matters; otherwise, we get very close to censorship and to state control.”
Coulter went on to note that his only recourse to rectify the incident is full legal action, after two letters he sent along with a legal letter to the hotel went unanswered. He is suing the hotel for unlawful discrimination and breach of contract with the help of the Christian Institute.
The Belfast legal firm representing Coulter said his case shows that he was a victim of discrimination.
The firm noted that his “Marriage Matters” event was stopped “because it was promoting and supporting the proposition that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.”
The Christian Institute is a U.K.-based organization that exists for “the furtherance and promotion of the Christian religion in the United Kingdom” and “the advancement of education.”
The firm is also “committed to upholding the truths of the Bible” as well as “upholding the sanctity of life from conception.”