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B&B Owners to Take Gay Discrimination Case to Supreme Court

B&B Owners to Take Gay Discrimination Case to Supreme Court

 

British hoteliers Hazelmary and Peter Bull, despite twice having faced a court rule that they discriminated by denying a double room to a gay couple at their B&B in Cornwall, have indicated that they will seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court and may even take their case as far as the European Court of Human Rights.

Reports the BBC:

Mrs Bull said: “I feel that the law has gone too far. Certainly Pete and I are ready to see if we can achieve some sort of result whereby two lifestyles can live alongside each other.

“We need to apply for leave to appeal, because that wasn’t given at the last court hearing. If we get it we could take it to the Supreme Court. If we don’t get leave to appeal then I understand we would possibly take it to Brussels.”

Mike Judge, from the Christian Institute, said: “I think this is a leading case, and it may even go to the European Court of Human Rights if we are not successful at the Supreme Court.”

Mr Judge said Mr and Mrs Bull had applied their policy to all unmarried couples, not just same-sex couples.

Dr Michael Halls, from the South West-based charity the Intercom Trust, which works with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, said: “[Mr and Mrs Bull] were discriminating against marriage and civil partnership.

“I think the conflict of rights in this case will be decided against them,” he added.

The British Court of Appeals, in a unanimous decision,declared in February that a Bristol judge was right inruling that the Bulls, owners of the Chymorvah Private Hotel near Penzance, Cornwall, had indeed violated the rights of gay couple Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy when they denied the couple a double room, citing that Britiain’s equality laws mean that while the hoteliers are allowed their private religious beliefs, those beliefs are not suitable justification for discrimination in the public sector.

The Bulls had refused a double room to Hall and Preddy based on a strict policy that double rooms would only be available for married couples. This, they claimed, was not about the couple’s sexual orientation as, they said, they would have denied the room to an unmarried straight couple in the same way — though they admitted at the trial that they did think being in a gay relationship is a sin.

Gay couple Hall and Preddy, who are civil partners, claimed that this was a de facto ban on same-sex couples as they can not currently marry in Britain and therefore are automatically excluded by the Bulls’ rooming policy.

Bristol Judge Andrew Rutherford agreed, concluding last year that while the law must be seen to uphold the rights of religious freedom of speech, the right to manifest one’s religious views is not absolute and must be limited in the public sphere “to protect the rights and freedoms” of the public.

The ruling affirmed the Bulls had the right to hold their own private views, but as soon as those views were introduced into hotel policy they became subject to equality laws and as such were in breach of Britain’s Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations of 2007 which says civil partnerships – recognized in Britain under the Civil Partnership Act of 2004 – must be treated the same as marriages.

As such, Mr and Mrs Bull were ordered to pay a total of 3,600 to Hall and Preddy.

Related Reading:

Gay Couple Wins Discrimination Case Against Hoteliers Who Refused them a Room
British Hoteliers Who Refused Gay Couple a Double Room Will Appeal Court Loss
British “Gay” Hotels to be Investigated for Discrimination Against Straight Couples

 

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to antonella.beccaria.

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54 comments

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3:58AM PDT on Mar 17, 2012

This couple see absolutely nothing wrong in what they did and will keep on trying to justify their actions despite the raft of legislation against the very discrimination they wish to practice whilst running their business. I hope they are not using taxpayers money in the form of legal aid to pursue it.

7:29AM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

Brian S. is trying to complicate the issue so it doesn't make sense. Anti-discrimination legislation is to protect FROM discrimination, not to give someone the right TO discriminate. B&B owners can refuse guests because they're rude and offensive or loud or messy, but not because they're gay or christian (or handicapped or black).

6:46PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

This couple is living in the dark ages. Get out of the B&B business. I'm sure they don't ask for a marriage license when they see a hetero couple ask for a room.

3:40PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

it is quite rare to encounter such intolerant people in britain. i still remember my friend's english grandmom enquiring after my sex life over dinner when we just met.

2:08PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Oh, I just SO think the name "Bull" is the right one for these people!

2:02PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Please- do you really check the marriage license of every "straight" couple to make sure that they were married? Accept that you were/are wrong and get out of the B&B business!

1:37PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Care2 is starting to get overrun with spammers and these ads. Will everyone flag, flag flag them as many times as you see them? Pretty soon they'll be 500 posts and 400 of them will be these spammer ads.

12:51PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

"the right to manifest one’s religious views is not absolute and must be limited in the public sphere “to protect the rights and freedoms” of the public."

Now WHY cannot the Religious Reich here in the US see this? You can have ALL the religious freedom you want UNTIL it affects the rights of others.

12:08PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

You know, I just thought of something. Do they demand to see a marriage license every time a couple comes in?

12:04PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Bull, you either live with the world and run your business or find another line of work. If you are going to offer accommodations to the public than you no longer have the right to discriminate against others.
What I really don't understand is why it should make any difference to you how others life their PRIVATE lives. It is really none of your business.

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