Peter and Hazelmary Bull – Chymorvah Private Hotel – are being sued for refusing civil partners Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall a a double room
Yep, another B&B legal case, this time involving Christians refusing a gay couple a double room, because it would be ‘an affront to their faith’.
This is an interesting case on two fronts. Firstly, the hotel owners also discriminate against non-married heterosexual couples and so the accusers have to establish that they were in fact discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation alone. Secondly, B&B’s and the like normally double as the family home and so this ruling has a potentially profound impact as the law courts are effectively deciding on what is permissible under your own private roof.
Caveat – In my opinion: I know we have to make the distinction between private and business, however, as long as the business receives absolutely no funding from the public sector, then this to me would still constitute a private matter.
This case is of course being brought under the Labour ‘equality’ legislation legacy. The plot thickens in that the Bulls allege they received a letter from Stonewall, the gay rights organisation, saying it had received a complaint and warning the hotel was breaking the law. Shortly after, Steven Preddy booked a double room for two nights by telephone, but did not mention he was staying with his gay partner. Sounds a little coincidental to me.
Do bear in mind the hotel manager offered the couple separate rooms, but they chose to trot off and complain to the police.
I had an interesting discourse with a gay libertarian chap some time back relating to a case very similar to this one. He was of the opinion that Christians should have the right to discriminate against whomever in private business, just so long as nobody objected to reciprocal discrimination against Christians.
In other words, Christian B&B owners should be within their rights to turn away gay couples, just as the LGBT community should be within their rights to turn away Christian couples.
He took this a step further and opined that ‘anti-gay street preachers’ should have full liberty to vent their views in public, just so long as nobody objected to the preacher being picketed with placards denoting him a narrow-minded bigot outside his church every Sunday.
Sounded fair enough to me, as we both acknowledged the ‘equality’ laws were failing in their stated objectives.
Anyway, this case hits a Bristol court on Monday sponsored by the Christian Institute and it will be interesting to note the outcome.