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.

440 comments on this post.
  1. Jill:

    So it will. It will be interesting to see whether the state religion is to be pushed aside in favour of recent legislation. We cannot serve two masters. If the verdict goes against this couple, then we have to disestablish.

    One thing which hasn’t been made particularly clear is whether the Bulls’ request that only married couples use their double room was made before or after the Stonewall letter. If it was before, then I don’t see that Stonewall, or the gay couple, have a leg to stand on.

  2. Roger Pearse:

    As I understand it, the Brown government pretty much agreed to pass whatever Stonewall asked for. Indeed when it was passed, I believe Stonewall issued a press release indicating under what conditions they would prosecute.

    If so, this law is being used for its intended purpose. It was devised and passed in order to give pseudo-police powers to a well-funded, well-connected, unelected body. That body is now targeting those it perceived as its enemies, and whom it had a law passed in order to attack — Christians. It is also carefully attacking people who have no access to the law — normal people — with no resources, and who will be ruined if they lose. They’re also employing agents provocateurs for the purpose.

    Let’s also remember “the process is the punishment”. For the two people attacked, this is a hideous nightmare. Even if acquitted, their lives are ruined. People like Ezra Levant have documented the techniques of “lawfare” — the abuse of the court process as a punishment itself.

    Anyone remember “what two people do in the privacy of their own home is no-one else’s business”? How long ago that seems, with this new Gestapo.

  3. webmaster:

    One thing which hasn’t been made particularly clear is whether the Bulls’ request that only married couples use their double room was made before or after the Stonewall letter.

    This was on their website Jill:

    ‘We have few rules but please note that out of a deep regard for marriage we prefer to let double accommodation to heterosexual married couples only.’

    And they say they have had this ‘married only’ policy since they bought the Hotel in 1986!

    In view of this, how does anyone prove it was on the grounds of sexual orientation alone, as they also discriminate against heterosexual unmarried couples!

  4. Jill:

    Yes, yes, I appreciate that, webmaster – nobody reading that could fail to miss the message here – but WHEN was it put there? Not in 1986, I’ll be bound!

    It’s all very well having a policy, but this must be declared loudly and clearly.

    I hope any other Christian B & B owners will be taking note here.

    The question is – did the gay couple know that this was the policy?

  5. webmaster:

    Yes fair enough Jill.

    Did the gay couple know the policy…..well that’s certainly something I’d like to know.

  6. Simian:

    Anyone remember “what two people do in the privacy of their bedroom is no-one else’s business”?

    Might I also point out that the law is the law. If it’s a bad one and enough people think so we can change it. But until such time as this happens, the law is there to be obeyed, whether it is distasteful to some people or not.

  7. webmaster:

    @Simian, I think what intrigues me in this case is that it is a little can of worms, and in some senses these legal cases actually serve to clarify the law by setting precedents.

    There is much of this ‘equality’ legislation that still needs to be clarified in these legal cases, in terms of their practical application and of course implications.

    Certainly one to keep an eye on.

  8. Jill:

    Once upon a time, Simian, not so long ago, it was against the law to commit acts of sodomy. Now it seems to be against the law to object to acts of sodomy. So the moral are in danger of getting their collars felt, whereas the immoral get away scot free and can expect to gain damages against the moral.

    Yes, bad laws need to be repealed.

  9. Simian:

    I agree Webmaster. Actually, if we discovered that these guests planned this to be a confrontation from the outset then I personally would condemn them. Intentionally provoking people with differing religious beliefs is no way to behave in a civilised and tolerant society.

    Jill.
    I would prefer to live in a liberal society where people may do what they wish provided they do no harm to others. I assume you object to sodomy because of your religious belief. I can understand that. But is that sufficient reason to make it against the law, and to imprison someone who indulge in this practice? We are not a theocracy; nor were we ever one. I have lived in countries which are closer to being theocracies, and I would not recommend them. Power of that sort too often tends to corrupt, and it is too easy for the perpetrators to hide behind a false interpretation of their religion that they use to justify their behaviour. Give me democracy any day, however imperfect it may be. It’s still the least worst option. With democracy come some laws intended to ensure the greatest freedom for the great majority.

  10. Jill:

    I object to sodomy, Simian, because it is disgusting, harmful, spreads disease, distorts the mind and the bodies of individuals involved, and is generally objectionable. There!

    I don’t, however, believe it should be against the law. But what was once taking place between consenting adults, IN PRIVATE, is now being promoted to our children as normal behaviour.

    I too believe in democracy, and I would hate a theocracy (think Shariah) but it is no longer democratic, is it, when Christians or anybody else who objects to sodomy (i.e. most people) is arrested, or driven from their livelihoods because they voice this fact.

  11. Sophie:

    @ Jill: You have a very short memory. We’ve already squashed your theory that all gay men have anal sex and no straight couples do.

    “There is a common misconception that anal sex is practised almost exclusively by gay men. This is certainly not the case. An estimated one third of gay couples do not include anal intercourse in their lovemaking. About one third of heterosexual couples try it from time to time.

    It is thought that about 10 per cent of heterosexual couples have anal intercourse as a more regular feature of their lovemaking. In absolute numbers, more heterosexual couples have anal sex than homosexual couples, because more people are heterosexual.”

    Just to remind you, this comes from Netdoctor, a site officially recommended by the NHS as a reliable source of information.

    So it seem about 10% of the married couples in this wretched hotel are likely to engage in sodomy. Just how intrusive do you think people should get about the conduct of their guests?

    What people do in private is their business. I find this prurience distasteful, as is your capacity to repeat claims that have already been shown to be untrue.

  12. Jill:

    Sophie, we have done nothing of the sort. That is a gay fantasy. Most of the cases of AIDS in this country among women come from the third world – nothing to do with heterosexal anal sex. You have not been paying attention.

  13. Simian:

    OK Jill,
    So you find sodomy objectionable, but you think it should be legal, and you think it should take place between consenting adults in private.

    How is a B&B owner to objectively decide whether this actual act is going to take place between two men who share the same room – even if they are Gay?

    I have been on many trips where I have shared a room with another man – in order to save costs. I happen not to have ever indulged in anything you find objectionable, but should the proprietor of the B&B be allowed to prejudge in this way what people are going to do in the privacy of their room?

    You may say that it would be obvious, and in some cases it may be, but not by any means in all cases. Imagine how I would feel if someone had told me I could not share a room with another man, because they suspected I might do something they found objectionable to the other man with whom I shared the room.

    Do you see where I’m coming from. If this act is not illegal, then it is wrong for someone who is offering a service to the general public to discriminate against it. If one allows discrimination then one also has to allow a guesthouse to put up a sign that says something like “No blacks, No foreigners, No Tattoos or piercings, No football supporters, No Muslims, or anyone whose religion I don’t approve of.
    Where does one draw the line?

  14. Sophie:

    @ Jill: So the NHS advice service is a gay fantasy? Have you been taking your medication?

    What’s the point debating with someone who just makes things up as it suits her? You need to get in touch with reality and learn a little about human nature and behaviour. The facts, not a rehash of your own fixed prejudices. Your game of bluff and pretence is no substitute for reasoned argument and does you no credit.

  15. Jill:

    Funny, I was about to say the same about you, Sophie. You say you squashed my theory, but actually I squashed yours.

    Simian – I often share a room with women friends on various trips, my husband likewise, but never a double bed, which neither of us would like. If we knew there was any objection to this where we were staying, we would not do it because we are reasonable human beings who respect other people’s points of view, whatever we may think of them. The case here is that they would have been offered single rooms had they been available. These two men were obviously out to make a point, encouraged by legislation, to put these Christians in their place and to assert their self-imagined superiority.

    Sophie, I think you ought to come out of your comfortable bubble and read some NHS advice to children about sexual activity. I think even you might be shocked.

  16. Jill:

    In fact, now I come to think about it, I was asked to do just that at a conference in Jerusalem just a few years ago – a friend (with whom I have shared a room before) and I were asked not to. It involved quite a big extra cost, having to have separate rooms, but did we run to mummy? Did we report them to the police? Did we try to make a few quid – or political points – out of it? No, of course we didn’t. We just grumbled and paid up.

    Had they been a straight unmarried couple, do you think they would have gone to the police?

    These people need to grow up. There will always be people who will not accept disgusting practices, and will not put up with them in their own homes. Get over it.

  17. Simian:

    Jill
    A straight unmarried couple would not have experienced the mental and physical cruelty which has too often been meted out to homosexual couples.

    To you, maybe turning someone away from a B&B is just that, but if we allow that, then we open the floodgates for any hot headed homophobe to go one stage further and express his disgust in physical violence.

    Some Christians are quick to use the ‘thin end of the wedge’ argument to justify intolerance. Well, maybe it works both ways. You allow a little ‘harmless’ prejudice against Gays, and where does it inevitably lead?

  18. Jill:

    How drearily predictable! A couple put up a sign saying ‘married couples only’ and the next thing you know, they are guilty of incitement to gay-bashing.

    Come off it, Simian.

  19. Sophie:

    @ Jill: You’ve been preoccupied by sodomy from your arrival on this blog. You post about it elsewhere too, and inject the topic into debates at every opportunity. Before your advent it wasn’t an issue echurch netizens much discussed. Now you drag it in all the time.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say you’re obsessed, but it’s certainly something in which you have an unwholesome, even morbid, interest. Have you not considered that your fascination with this act gives readers an insight into the murkier depths of your unconscious? Realms which you might prefer to keep to yourself? A person’s recurrent preoccupations can be very revealing.

  20. Simian:

    Actually yes Jill. There are individuals who will take the flimsiest pretext to justify physical violence. Ihave witnessed it. Saying this is drearily predictable does not falsify the premise.

    You can’t have it both ways and on the one hand say that low level discrimination against Chritians leads to greater persecution, and on the other deny that low level discrimination against Gays does not lead to greater persecution. Which is it to be?

  21. Simian:

    Oops. Typo: Should read “…low level discrimination against Gays leads to gretaer persecution.”

  22. Sophie:

    @ Simian: Did you not see the post in which Jill asserted that homosexuals had only themselves to blame for violence against them?

    On November 16th at 4:21 pm Jill wrote: “why do you think gay hate crime is really on the increase? How would you feel if you were asked to give preference to a group of people whose sexual behaviour you felt (with good reason) to be abhorrent and harmful, both to themselves and others, and whose rights are put over and above yours time and time again? Would you be pleased and delighted? Or would you be angry?

    … Most people are tolerant, but this brings out the worst in people, and unfortunately the thuggish element in society will lash out, but blame gay activists…”

    I think you have your answer. What this does for our opinion of Jill’s Christian values is another matter.

  23. Sophie:

    I have been given an early Christmas present.

    It’s a crystal ball. ;-)

    And what it tells me is that the Bulls will lose the case and that the CLC will bemoan yet another case of decent Christian folk being persecuted for their faith.

    And those who believe them will have their sense of victimhood confirmed, while those who do not will sigh and, if Christian, feel ashamed of these losers.

    It must be like banging your head against a brick wall. I assume they’ll get tired of it eventually.

  24. Jill:

    My Christian values, Sophie? I think you will find that the values enshrined in Christianity, as well as the other major world religons are the same as mine – that sexual activity should be contained within marriage between a man and a woman. I challenge you to find anything anywhere that says this is not so. (Apart from the annals of Ekklesia, that is! Who make it up as they go along.)

    Let me tell you a little story. Years ago, when my children were small, we were holidaying on the South Coast with another family with young children. One day the other mum and I were walking along the beach, with our children running in and out of the sand dunes. Suddenly all the children started running towards us, screaming. We rushed over to find out what was wrong, and encountered a group of naked men. One of them stood up and confronted us quite aggressively, the rest were giggling like silly schoolgirs. They must have heard the children coming, but made no attempt to cover themselves or reassure the children.

    We did our best to make light of the situation, as one does with young children, but it caused a lot of upset. When we got back my husband was all for calling the police, but by that time we had found out from some locals that that part of the beach was a well-known homosexal haunt. In the end we decided to do nothing, as it was we who had inadvertently invaded ‘their’ space. The upshot for the children was not so happy – my little boy started bedwetting, and it was several months before they stopped asking questions. Even at that young age they knew there was something very wrong with this scenario.

    This is what I mean about tolerance. We were prepared to tolerate them, even though it was a public beach with no warning signs anywhere. Why should Christians not be afforded the same tolerance, in their own private homes? We did not want to punish these men, even though they had caused us a great deal of distress, so why do they want to punish the good people who run this guest house? Who are the spiteful and unpleasant ones, exactly?

  25. Jill:

    “Actually yes Jill. There are individuals who will take the flimsiest pretext to justify physical violence.”

    Oooh, be careful, Simian. I have said exactly that,and just look how Sophie responded! You will have her after you! (Chortle!)

  26. Sophie:

    @ Jill: In reply to your post, it’s been clear to me for a while that you don’t understand epidemiology. Initially I couldn’t bring myself to launch an explanation, but it seems I must.

    Epidemiology* is an important area for public health research and planning. Though I’m no expert, I use the basics in my work. You imply that HIV infections are somehow the result of sodomy when, of course, HIV infection only occurs if one partner is already infected, and not always then.

    Imagine a little village in which no one has an STI. The villagers can be as promiscuous as they like, do whatever they want with whoever they want. No one will get an STI. However if a newcomer arrives who’s carrying a sexually transmitted infection it’ll rapidly spread from A to B to C…

    Although sodomy is more common among straight than gay individuals, more gay men get HIV because there’s a higher proportion of infected individuals who are gay than there are straight. If very few heterosexual individuals have HIV your chances of catching HIV during heterosexual sodomy will be extremely low. Very few women catch HIV in the UK through sodomy. This in no way contradicts the finding that sodomy is widespread among heterosexuals, in fact it fits the data. A monogamous married couple could be practicing sodomy for 40 years and neither of them would get HIV. Does this make sense now?

    Tracing contacts and mapping infection spread is an important part of the NHS’s work in terms of all STIs. That’s why they’ve spent the time and effort to establish people’s sexually practices and patterns: what people do, who with, etc. That’s why the information on Netdoctor is reliable. These guys need to know.

    I’ve tried to point out how foolish it is to “blame” gay men for HIV infection. If HIV infection is a punishment for homosexuality the question must be “Why are lesbians exempt?” Of course they’re exempt for obvious biological reasons. Infection is a morally neutral process.

    *Epidemiology is the study of patterns of health and illness and associated factors at the population level. It is the cornerstone method of public health research, and helps inform evidence-based medicine for identifying risk factors for disease and determining optimal treatment approaches to clinical practice and for preventative medicine.

  27. Sophie:

    @ Jill: You write “Why should Christians not be afforded the same tolerance, in their own private homes?”

    But it’s not the Bull’s private home. It’s an hotel, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is illegal in the provision of goods and services. The Bulls know this perfectly well, they just think they should be immune.

    The obvious flaw in the Bull’s argument is that whereas nearly any male/female couple can claim to be married, there’s no way a male/male couple can do the same. Like saying “We don’t have a colour bar, it’s just that we only serve people with blue eyes.” It’s window-dressing for a ban on gay couples.

    Another weakness is that on their website they define marriage as “being the union of one man to one woman for life to the exclusion of all others.”

    These are stringent requirements. Their claim not to be discriminatory would perhaps be a tad more credible if they can produce evidence that they have always insisted on seeing every couple’s marriage certificate and of the steps taken to establish that none of these married couples had entered into a second marriage while their first spouse was still living. I guess getting each couple to swear an affidavit might suffice, though it wouldn’t be foolproof.

    Of course having a Commissioner for Oaths on standby when people checked in so they could swear this was their first and only marriage, and reminding would-be guests to bring their marriage certificate for inspection might impact on their bookings. I can’t imagine how they’d get any guests at all.

    Once the CLC have finished with them and headlines die down, I’ll be surprised if the hotel survives. Those who’ve encouraged this silly couple to see themselves as unjustly treated Christian “martyrs” have done a wicked thing.

    And then you launch into yet another random unpleasant anecdote that in your view proves a point. I find it very frustrating that you never “get” that your personal experiences do not, in themselves, form a rational argument. As Simian has said, the law is the law, whether it is distasteful to some people or not.

  28. Simian:

    I’m sure I can look after myself Jill. ;-)
    But would you care to address my question? Is it wrong to engage in minor discrimination because it can lead to major persecution, or is it ok, because that is as far as it will go?
    You may say that the cases are different, but then all cases are different. How are we as a nation to choose which are which? Isn’t it better to have clear simple rules that everyone can understand, even if they don’t personally agree with everything. There are things that are allowed in this country that I personally object to, and there are things that I have no problem with that others find objectionable, but a mature and civilised society involves a great deal of give and take.

  29. Jill:

    Hear hear Simian. A mature society will indeed give and take. A pity this gay couple were not prepared to do the same. I note they were backed by Stonewall and their case is financed by the rest of us. Still, a good political point to be scored, and the chance of a few quid into the bargain. Not bad, when it costs you nothing.

    Actually we discriminate all the time. I don’t want witchcraft to be practised in my home, and I reserve the right to discriminate against witches on this basis. I don’t want dogs in my house – not because I don’t like dogs, but because they scare the living daylights out of my cats. I reserve this right. Are there any lawsuits against B&B owners who don’t allow dogs, I wonder? When will pagans cotton on to Christian B&Bs and demand their right not to be discriminated against? Can you not see how silly this is?

    There are of course much more serious implications in this case. As I pointed out in my first post, the religion of the State has never deviated from the stand on marriage being between a man and a woman. So, if the Bulls lose, this puts the state religion squarely at odds with the law of the land. I cannot see how we can remain the established church on that basis. Render unto Caesar and all that … but we cannot render that which is God’s.

  30. Jill:

    PS The Christian Institute has produced a factsheet:

    http://www.christian.org.uk/bulls_facts.pdf

  31. Simian:

    Well we do agree on some things Jill. :-)

    But what you appear to fail to notice is that this is not the same as not allowing a dog into your private home. A B&B is a business, and with that come different rights and obligations. It is not the same thing at all. People pay for a service and they expect to recieve that service with unlawful discrimination.

    I agree that we should all be flexible and allow a bit of give and take. But the problem with this case is that whilst on the face of it this may seem too trifling a matter to bring in the Police, in fact there is a very important legal principle at stake, and unless actions like this are brought, people will be able to go on unlawfully discriminating against people who are not themselves breaking the law.

    You may not like this particular law, but it is the law, and if we do not obey the law we should expect there to be consequences.

  32. Simian:

    Oops. I meant “…without unlawful discrimination.” Not Freudian I assure you!

  33. Jill:

    Okay, I don’t allow dogs in my B&B.

    So sue me.

  34. Simian:

    I understand that you can lawfully not allow dogs in your B&B, so I’d lose my case…

  35. Sophie:

    Someone on another blog has made this powerful point:

    “This so called Christian couple by their very reasoning would have turned away the pregnant mother of their own savior.

    “Sorry Mary, you’re not coming in, as you do not fit our Christian suitability policy.”

    Absolutely. I wonder if the Bulls ever considered this.

  36. Jill:

    No wonder you have such a poor view of Christians, Sophie, if you really think that we would turn away a heavily pregnant woman.

    As to the dogs, Simian – let us imagine that the law changed to prevent discrimination against dogs – just as it did about homosexual activity, you will recall. Would people insist on their furry friends accompanying them in B&Bs formerly asking for no dogs? Or would they behave like adults and go somewhere where dogs were welcome?

    I had better stop here otherwise we will have some clown squawking that I am saying gays are like dogs (oh, it’s been done before, believe me – hence my comment about behaving like adults).

    It’s good to have at least one person who disagrees with me who doesn’t set up straw men, accuse me of saying things I haven’t said, or lecture me on things I probably know ten times more than them about.
    Thank you for that.

  37. Steve:

    Strange how this thread has has become a vehicle for a few people to get on their hobby horse and plug their own particular views. I have just read the guidance notes to the Equality Act which says “Modern British Society is founded on the principles on which this legislation is based: fairness, tolerance, decency and respect.” As a Christian I respect the fact that others will hold different views from me and whilst I cannot condone some of their actions, if the law allows them I have to accept that fact, but not under my own roof. The Christian objection to homosexuality is simply because our bible tells us that it is wrong. This is not restricted to the act of sodomy but to “men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another…”. If I believe it to be a sin then it is also a sin for me to condone or even encourage such actions. In bringing this case, Stonewall is well aware of the views held by the Bulls but is not prepared to tolerate that people may hold views contrary to ther own. By targetting Christians in this way they seek to deny these people of their livelihood because of some percieved “snub” which they new, by reference to the website and hotel literature, they would receive before even telephoning their booking. The people who are being persecuted here are the Bulls, who have been in the hotel/guesthouse business since long before this legislation was introduced and have always conucted their business on sound Christian principles.

  38. Simian:

    Steve,
    Stick around and you’ll find many hobby horses scattered across these threads! You have just added to them by ‘plugging your own particular view’. Nothing wrong with that. By its nature a religious blog encourages strong and sometimes very ‘alternative’ views. I think most of us are here to learn from others’ views, and to explain how we fell about things, even if ours is not a mainstream view.

    A few reactions to your co9mment:

    You use the term ‘…not under my own roof.’ This is a private hotel. The rooms that are for rent are not their home. They are their business. It may be called a B&B but that’s just a particular kind of Hotel, and has to be subject to the relevant laws, whether it be fire protection or not being discriminatory.

    The Bulls may have been running this B&B before a particular law changed, but it did. And we can’t just go breaking the law because we don’t agree with it, unless we are prepared to face the consequences.

    Actually, strange as it may sound coming from me, as an Atheist, I do have some sympathy for the Bulls. They unfortunately have become pawns in a much larger battle. I do rather suspect that they were ‘ambushed’ because of the wording on their website. I would not have done this to them. But then again, I have not been systematically bullied and persecuted for many years just because of a less usual sexual orientation. So my sympathy is tempered.

    I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that within the Christian Church there is anything like uniformity in belief on homosexuality and the interpretation of what the Bible has to say on the matter. It seems to me to be a shaky foundation on which to fight a battle.

  39. Simian:

    Jill,
    You left an open question about dogs which I will answer:
    Of course we can only speculate, but I have a shrewd idea that there would be plenty of dog owners who would take a very similar course of action as happened here, as a point of principle -which is after all what this is about.

    History is perhaps our most useful guide: It does not matter whether it’s fox hunting, smoking, wearing motorcyvle crash hemets, driving with seat belts or withour alcohol in the bloodsteam – or any number of other laws which curtail what many people had previously seen to be their inalienable rights as citizens.
    In every case, there was opposition on the grounds of curtailing individual liberty to choose. It was only after some stiff penalties that many changed their ways. But over time the laws become custom and we accept them. My children do not remember a time before seat belts were compulsory, and it would never occur to them not to wear one.

  40. Simian:

    Steve
    Serendipity or what! I’ve just accidentally come across a blog by a Christian who is walking from Birmingham to London in 2011 via various speaking engagements to atone for his previous objections to homosexuality, which he now believes to be a misunderstanding of what the Bible has to say on the subject.
    I’m not saying he is right. I am no biblical scholar – But it shows that this is not such a simple thing to dismiss because of ones’ religion. The blog is at:
    http://repenting.wordpress.com/
    * Health warning for some reading this – He is closely associated with Ekklesia, which I know from which some at the conservative end of the spectrum think no good can come…

  41. Sophie:

    @ Jill: You miss the point about Mary and Joseph, Jill. They were betrothed but they were not married.

    Had Mr & Mrs Bull been the Holy Family’s hosts on the night in question our Nativity scenes would show Mary and the baby in one room, Joseph in another… That’s if they had two single rooms free, of course. Otherwise there’d be no room – because they couldn’t share a double! That would be dreadful!

    How could I have a poor view of Christians? I am a Christian. What I do have is a poor view of people who claim to be Christians while expressing distinctly dirty-minded and unChristian views.

  42. Sophie:

    @ Simian: What a lovely link! Thanks for sharing it.

    “As Christians seeking to live by the teachings and spirit of Christ, we affirm our conviction that God blesses both same-sex and mixed-sex relationships.”

    A man of much humility and goodwill.

  43. Steve:

    Simian

    What I was trying to say is that, whether your beliefs are correct or not, you should not be persecuted for sincerely holding them, provided you do no harm to others. Whether or not Mr & Mrs Bull broke the law is yet to be established by a Judge who says he needs until February to consider the legal implications so lets not go accusing them just yet! I can assure you that the Bulls have not, and would not persecute homosexuals in the same way as they would not persecute Muslims or Hindus. They sincerely hold a belief in the inspired word of God. They do not seek to force anyone to comply with their point of view but, I am sure, would be happy to explain it if you should ask. I find it very difficult to believe that these two men would have used the internet to find out about this hotel and not read all the information provided before picking up the ‘phone to make the booking. Don’t you think it strange that they did not use internet booking but chose to incur the additional expense of using the telephone? What has this incident cost them? Very little, remember you and I are paying for the costs of this prosecution. What does it stand to cost Mr & Mrs Bull? Their livelihood and their home. Would it not have been far more fair, decent, tolerant and respectful of the hotelier’s beliefs to accept the offer of alternative accommodation or simply find somewhere else to stay? Mr & Mrs Bull do not have any other option, other than abandoning their sincere Christian beliefs. Their whole life is invested in their business, Their guests, and my wife and I have been numbered amongst them, know that they will find comfortable rooms, good food and a peaceful and friendly atmosphere.

    The vast majority of homosexual and lesbian couples would have respected the religion or beliefs of Mr & Mrs Bull and taken their custom elsewhere. Stonewall and their stooges chose to trample on the beliefs of this couple for no other reason than their belief that they can.

  44. Nigel Williams:

    On the subject of the hypothetical B&B where dogs aren’t allowed and the owner says “so sue me”…

    http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/newshome/Blind-man39s-anger-after-cafe.6636087.jp?CommentPage=2&CommentPageLength=10

    Where there’s a statutory obligation to not discriminate in the provision of goods or services, “I don’t like them because they might do something which disagrees with my belief system” isn’t a defence.

  45. Simian:

    Steve,
    As I have already said, I do sympathise with the Bulls, for the reasons I have given, and I think it was unlind to single out these people.
    However, that does not change the princple at stake, and your phrase: ‘…provided you do no harm to others.’ is highly relevant. If the Bulls are allowed to turn away people who are not breaking the law but with whose morals they do not approve, where does this lead us? Ultimately if we allow this then there will be any number of people who use the same leeway to discriminate aganst people they just don’t care to have under their roof. How would you feel if various hotels put up signs saying ‘No Christians’ becase they did not like your views? It makes a mockery of the law, and is open to all sorts of abuse.
    By all means try to have the law changed, and if there are enough people in this democracy who agree, it will happen. Until such time the law must be upheld.

  46. Gerry:

    What is going wrong in the UK? Both people and religious groups have a right to their beliefs and if other groups do not like it then tough they should go elsewhere. Homosexuals fall outside of many religions, Christians, Muslims and Jews to name a few, are we now saying that all of these groups should accept homosexuals or close down? To me it is clear that they are simply attempting to force homosexuality through an ass of a law onto the majority of upstanding religious people in this country.

  47. Steve:

    Simian

    You are still assuming that Mr & Mrs Bull have broken the law. I do not believe that they have since their house rules apply to both heterosexual and homosexual couples but a far greater legal brain than mine has said the matter is so complex that he needs months to reach his judgement. As I previously said if a Christian believes something to be a sin then it is also a sin to condone or encourage that sin. To force them to provide someone with the means for carrying out that sin is an infringement of their rights under part 2 of the Equality Act 2006.

  48. Steve:

    Thanks Gerry

  49. Gerry:

    Steve, it is just so frustrating that the gay community are simply fightng for principles and not considering the overall effect. This year they won a court action which forced Catholic adoption agencies to close because they refused to place children with gay couples. Now it must be clear to any right minded person that the UK is better off with these agencies than without them, however they are now all in the process of being closed.

  50. Simian:

    Steve,
    You’re right. I’m assuming that they have broken the law, but as you rightly point out we do not yet have the judge’s verdict. If they are found innocent, and if your analysis of the relevant law is correct then it will be all the more welcome to their supporters. Whether it will be a good thing rather depends on your point of view.

    Gerry
    You make a lot of assumptions about what the majority of the population of the UK actually think. You might be surprised at the gap between your perception and reality. Indeed, purely on the topic of homosexuality, there are many within the Christian Church who hold very different views on homosexuality, and can produce the theological reasoning to support their view.
    With regard to the Catholic adoption agencies, again a reality check would show you that the effect of their withdrawal from the field of adoption is not quite as dire as you assume.
    I’m not particularly anti-religion or pro-Gay, but I think that unsubstantiated generalisations such as yours risk reinforcing unhelpful prejudice.

  51. Gerry:

    Steve I think you have just revealed your true colours. I will post no more responses.

  52. Gerry:

    Sorry last post, should have read Simian, I think you have just revealed your true colours.

  53. Simian:

    Gerry. I’m puzzled. What are my true colours and why does that mean you are not prepared to engage in dialogue? Is it because I disagree with you?

  54. Sophie:

    One wonder what it is about these self-appointed Christian martyrs that makes their facial expressions so… so… so striking?

    Shirley Chaplin’s dour face would stop a clock. Looking at her picture I can’t help but smile at the inspired caption “Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.”

    As for Bulls – you could go many a mile before seeing a face quite as distinctive as that of Hazelmary Bull.

    Maybe screwing your face up in revulsion at other people all the time has a bad effect. Who can tell?

  55. webmaster:

    Tell me about Sophie. Why oh why can’t we have some attractive “persecuted” Christians for once! :lol:

  56. Sophie:

    I don’t think we will. Speaking entirely from my own experience, it’s nearly always seriously unattractive people who get madly steamed up about other people’s sex lives. We have a lot of Plymouth Brethren or suchlike round here, and the women all wear headscarves so as not to fire the passions of men in the street. I have never seen a bunch of women less likely to inspire lust, with their scrubbed expressionless faces and hairy shins.

    On top of the Bulls and Shirley Chaplin, that Christian paediatrician was a grim sight, too. Looks exactly like a bloke in drag.

    As a wildly attractive Christian (OK, I’m lying, but I used to be quite a babe) I’d guess that very facially-challenged people are simply more likely to get a chip on their shoulders. It’s either that or that good looking people get away with murder. Probably the second. :-D

  57. Steve:

    Sorry I thought this was a forum for serious discussion, not an opportunity to be rude about people that you know nothing about.

    Signing off

  58. Simian:

    Guys
    I’m with Steve on this. There’s a time and place for humour. I was trying to make some serious points about a situation that is to my mind extremely unfortunate for all concerned.

  59. Sophie:

    @ Simian & Steve: I don’t see how the webmaster and I sharing a light-hearted moment interrupts your dialogue. We’re not addressing our remarks to you. There’s lots of occasions previously in which more than one “conversation” has been going on within the same thread. Just ignore us.

    @ Steve: Actually, people here are constantly being rude about people they know nothing about. You about Stonewall and the gay couple’s motives, for example. Or don’t homosexuals count?

  60. webmaster:

    OK, sorry guys didn’t mean to de-rail or belittle….

  61. DanJ0:

    “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.”

    How about atheist hotel or business owners refusing goods and services to religious people? Or English Defense League members refusing them to black or Asian people? Why not employment too if goods and services may be refused based on sincerely held beliefs or opinions?

  62. DanJ0:

    At the risk of being controversial, if civil partnerships were called marriage to reflect what they fundamentally are then the Bulls would have no defense.

  63. webmaster:

    …..if civil partnerships were called marriage to reflect what they fundamentally are then the Bulls would have no defense.

    @DanJ0, you most certainly have a salient point in regard to secular law, however, the argument would be in determining the difference between ‘secular’ marriage and ‘sacremental’ marriage – Holy Matrimony.

    In terms of ‘sacremental’ marriage, the Christian would still have the same problem, albeit, against the law.

  64. DanJ0:

    “In terms of ‘sacremental’ marriage, the Christian would still have the same problem, albeit, against the law.”

    Well, quite.

    What I don’t really get is why they have such a problem with non-Christians doing stuff out of wedlock. I mean, if other people don’t believe in the Christian god then what’s the point of being disapproving of stuff they do based on Christian ethics providing they’re not harming anyone else?

    Surely it’s god’s domain to deal with the gay couple and the Bulls’ to worry about their own lives? Wouldn’t it be better to do the Matthew 5-14 thing of letting their light shine out from their own behaviour and thereby attract people to their god in the first place instead of judging the behaviour of others according to standards which those people don’t accept?

  65. Simian:

    OK. Sorry guys. Maybe I’m over-reacting. Blame it on the flu.
    But I think we should all try to adhere to a rule never to say something about someone on the internet that we would not feel comfortable telling them to their face. The internet is a pretty uncivilised place at the best of times. To me, making jokes about how someone looks, particularly if they have no right of reply, and if the topic has nothing to do with their looks, is unfortunate to say the least.

  66. webmaster:

    @Simian, you’re dead right I feel bad now.

    Sorry to hear you’ve got the flu!

  67. Sophie:

    @ Simian: It may seem frivolous or bad form to comment on someone’s appearance but since I made that post I’ve become quite interested in the topic. I don’t think commenting on someone’s appearance (which is at least visible) is any less legitimate than suggesting that complete strangers are lying. Steve wrote:

    “I find it very difficult to believe that these two men would have used the internet to find out about this hotel and not read all the information provided before picking up the ‘phone to make the booking. Don’t you think it strange that they did not use internet booking but chose to incur the additional expense of using the telephone?”

    Steve maligns two men about which we know nothing at all. They may be of excellent character. I cannot for the life of me see why making this sort of comment is OK, while remarking that Mrs Bull has a face like a bag of spanners is off limits.

    But appearance affects personality. That’s a fact, And it is striking how downright odd looking some of our recent “victimised” Christians are, though not all of them.

    I’ve been reading it up, as I do, and it seems that though there’s been lots of work done on beauty, not much has been done on the converse. There are studies on disfigurement, which isn’t the same thing. But if you look at the work done on beauty it seems that people unconsciously attribute virtues to attractive people and, just as unconsciously, ascribe failings to ugly or disfigured people.

    People’s characters develop in response to other people’s treatment of them and if you know you’re seriously unattractive it affects how you perceive life, and other people, particularly with regard to sexuality.

    I haven’t been able to answer my questions, but I think there must be a link. It may be that perceiving yourself as unfairly unpopular makes you more likely to be quite aggressive when standing up for yourself. I dunno. But I do think it’s an aspect of the string of recent cases that is real, and probably has significance. So not such a frivolous point.

  68. Jill:

    Sophie, for crying out loud, stop digging! This is really embarrassing.

  69. DanJ0:

    Gerry: “What is going wrong in the UK? Both people and religious groups have a right to their beliefs and if other groups do not like it then tough they should go elsewhere. Homosexuals fall outside of many religions, Christians, Muslims and Jews to name a few, are we now saying that all of these groups should accept homosexuals or close down? ”

    Yes. The supply of goods and services laws means suppliers must not discriminate based purely on sexual orientation, or race, or, coincidentally, religion. So, if an atheist B&B owner turns you away simply for being a Christian then you have a case of illegal discrimination. Rightly so, really. He might not agree with Christianity himself but he must set that aside as a personal issue if he’s operating a business.

    Personally, I see that as a Good Thing. The religious in the UK have a legal and social right to hold beliefs and manifest them in private and in public spaces but it’s not an absolute right that trumps everything else. In the UK, all the major religions including Christianity are minority interests. We should protect those interests but remember that we’re a diverse society where Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and so on have their own, possibly conflicting, interests which need arbitration in society.

  70. Jill:

    Describing Christianity as a ‘minority interest’ just about sums up where we differ, DanJo. You and me, and all of us, are inheritors of a fair, just and stable society deeply rooted in the Christian faith. Our nation’s whole ethos is based on Christianity. As society becomes less Christian, it becomes less fair and just, and far less stable. It is ridiculous to say that we should keep our faith out of the public square – it is precisely because we have been in the public square that we have the kind of society where you have the freedoms you do!

    While the major faiths differ significantly on many issues, this is one on which they all agree, as do many people of no faith, and which has been proven over and over again in study after study – that marriage between a man and a woman is best for men, for women and for children, and that homosexual activity is wrong. It is harmful and damaging physically and psychologically to those concerned, and ultimately harmful to society.

    Christians have a duty to bear witness to this. This is what the Bulls are doing – upholding the sanctity of marriage. It is others who seek to portray this as discrimination.

  71. DanJ0:

    Our UK society has grown from many things, including the various and competing versions of Christianity, the concept of the nation state, colonialism, the nature of English law, and especially the Enlightenment. That we have had an established Protestant church for the State has, for instance, set us on a different path than the one we would have had if we had become a Catholic country. Christianity is not the justification for our laws and values, it is a historic contributor and we can leave it behind if we like without necessarily damaging the basis of our values.

    Jill, you are applying an overly simplistic view to things if you think it is the demise of Christianity in the UK that is mostly responsible for the changes in those aspects of our society over recent decades. In fact, we have become more fair and just since our class system has been fractured after the first World War if you think about it. Stability has more likely changed because of a large increase in population, social mobility around the country, immigration and multiculturalism, the dispersal of families, the loss of heavy industry around which communities were built, and so on.

    As far as major faiths are concerned, the bits that they have in common are not a indicators of what is Right, just as the bits that they fail to agree on are not indicators of what is Wrong. Furthermore, even if we accept that a traditional nuclear family is the best configuration for (say) socialisation of children or social stability then that does not invalidate alternative configurations.

    It is quite valid for (say) a widow to bring up children on her own or indeed remarry and merge families. It is quite valid for (say) men and women to marry and not have children. It is also valid for two men or two women to form same-sex marriages, and possibly raise children. Less than the best may be entirely good enough. And let’s face it, lots of traditional nuclear families are poor environments in practice to bring up children.

    Finally, Christians have a faulty and flawed morality *by definition* to atheists and other religious people simply because Right and Wrong are derived from the Christian god. That most atheists and Christians share ethics is arguably because we have been socialised that way and because those ethics tend to make sense from our experience of the human condition. I expect most atheists try to live and let live but the more vocal ones, Richard Dawkins for example, would argue the same as you that they have a duty to bear witness to the harm Christianity does to truth, and in some cases, ethics. This is where we all are now, essentially arguing about what is Right and who is Good. It doesn’t really help us all get along in the same space though, does it?

  72. Simian:

    Thank you Danjo for expressing more eloquently the response that I myself would have given.

  73. Jill:

    DanJo, you are missing the vital ingredient here. You imagine that you are seeing things from a neutral position – you are not! You are seeing things from a Christian standpoint, because that has been the culture of the West for centuries. Had it not been for Christianity and outspoken Christians you would possibly be a slave, you would certainly not have been educated unless you were very rich, nor would you have the standard of healthcare which we have come to expect, and you would expect violent retribution or a spell in a stinking hellhole for any crime you might commit.

    I have tried to explain this to Simian, with not much success I fear. If you had grown up in a tribe of headhunters, you would think headhunting was a perfectly normal and rational thing to do. Blood feuds were the norm in Africa before Christianity arrived. Tribes went on killing sprees, and revenge killing sprees, all the time. Still do, in some parts. Had you grown up in some Islamic countries you would think it perfectly acceptable to execute homosexuals and to bury people up to their necks and stone them to death for trivial crimes.

    Christianity teaches that we are each and every one of us made in the image of God, and that every human life is of value, and that we must not kill. It also teaches that sex should be contained within marriage. Plenty of people overstep this boundary and always have; that is not a huge problem in itself, it is the removal of the boundaries which causes the problem, opening the floodgates. There is a chain of events which lead to the culture of death. Infidelity leads to sexual jealousy which can lead to violence; unmarried sexual activity leads to STDs and unwanted pregnancies which necessitate the killing of the unborn. Rootless families abound, fathers become unnecessary, children run wild. The condom culture has been disastrous with STDs and abortions running at an all-time high. Early sexual activity distorts and re-wires young people’s brains so that they find it hard to bond with one partner later in life. Unhappy youngsters resort to alcohol and drugs. I don’t know how old you are, but you must see this. I see it in my town centre every Friday and Saturday night – something which simply did not happen 20 years ago.

    Marriage is the very cornerstone of our society. Without it, the whole edifice will crumble. Divorce has had a disastrous effect on the family, and so has gay rights legislation. We haven’t seen the half of it yet. Polyamory is becoming more popular; now we see that the Swiss have now legalised incest. Paedophiles are waiting in the wings. Read Peter Tatchell’s blog and you will see that this sexual free-for-all is just what he wants, and really you cannot discriminate against paedophiles if you remove other ‘discriminations’ based on people’s feelings. All I can foresee from all this is a more unhappy and violent society.

  74. DanJ0:

    “Once upon a time, Simian, not so long ago, it was against the law to commit acts of sodomy. Now it seems to be against the law to object to acts of sodomy. So the moral are in danger of getting their collars felt, whereas the immoral get away scot free and can expect to gain damages against the moral.”

    I don’t want to take over the comments area here but I have a comment to make on this too.

    I think it was outrageous to criminalise sexual acts between consenting adults in private, or indeed inoffensive public acts such as kissing or holding hands. We’re a liberal democratic nation and that’s a substantial and enduring part of our heritage. Arguably, it endures much better than our increasingly irrelevant Christian heritage given the multicultural and diverse nature of the UK. The consequences of that law was hideous for individuals, and arguably to society as a whole.

    To be able to criticise and object to sodomy [1] is, and ought to be, protected in the UK under the very same sorts of principles that ought to protect people from the intrusion of the State into the bedrooms of consenting adults. Of course, the subject of criticism and objection includes, and ought to include, religion and the acts of religious too.

    [1] You do know that homosexual activity does not require sodomy, right? Lots of gay men have full sex lives without ever doing that.

  75. Jill:

    DanJo, I don’t think it should be illegal. But I reserve the right to object to it.

    What I was trying to say in my last post, in a rather convoluted manner, was that Christian moral teaching all hangs together perfectly. It cannot lead to undesirable consequences if followed properly. It is best for the individual, and best for society.

    We need to think carefully before we cut off the branch on which we are all sitting.

  76. DanJ0:

    Oh Jill. :(

    We’re not on a slippery slope to legalising paedophilia. We based a lot of our thinking on the Harm Principle, knowingly or unknowingly. Children are not sexual objects and are not full sexual beings. Moreover, they can’t consent in any meaningful way which is why we treat children differently to adults. Peadophilic acts are crimes, and rightly so. It’s almost certainly a pathology. Homosexuality is part of normal human sexuality. Christians get all confused about sexuality and sexual acts because they think the world was created and must have a meaning. As Tab A appears to be designed to fit into Slot B by function, it must be Natural and Good, and other configurations must be Unnatural and therefore Bad. This is one version of the Naturalistic Fallacy in philosophy. Remove that initial hypothesis (it *is* a hypothesis) and the rest falls apart and becomes a bit silly. We do many, many unnatural things that are not Bad. Indeed, that’s what makes us a marvellous and remarkable species!

  77. DanJ0:

    Incidentally, you probably realise that I’m not a Christian. What may not be clear is that I am also a gay (though single) man.

    Here’s the some of the consequences of that law making homosexual acts illegal, restricting them to over 21s when the age of consent of other heterosexual acts was 16, or not allowing heterosexual relationships the same legal and social rights as for heterosexual ones.

    Homosexuality is common across societies and throughout history. It doesn’t go away and the sex drive is one of the strongest instincts. Homosexual men don’t usually have a choice of being heterosexual or homosexual. I don’t. Believe me, I would love to have grown up heterosexual as it would have saved a lot of anguish and alienation. Therefore, homosexual acts and relationships are inevitable.

    So, what are the consequences? Well, suicide is the most obvious one. I seriously considered it aged 20 when I was clearly going to fail to meet my parents’ expectations or have a normal life like other people. In fact, probably the only thing that stopped me when I was sitting on that tower block ledge was the knowledge that it would destroy my mother’s remaining life. As you may know, there are campaigns in the USA today to try to lower the rates of suicides of gay teenagers, and those who are bullied as though they are gay, in that Christian country.

    In the 1950s and 1960s, gay men were terrified of being sent to jail. Famously, Alan Turing committed suicide as a result of the treatment he received and with which he was threatened. Careers were destroyed if people were outed. They still are too, and to the detriment of all of us. I work for a multinational company now where homophibic behaviour is overt. If I were outed then it would be difficult to carry on working there.

    What about HIV? Well, I strongly suspect that the more unsalubrious interactions between some gay men i.e. cruising in known bars, cottaging, stranger sex, and so on, are the result of pushing it underground. Transmission of HIV is much more likely in those environments. That’s not an inherent aspect of homosexuality, it’s almost certainly learned behaviour.

    So, how about allowing gay teenagers to feel comfortable about their sexuality and be open enough about it to seek health advice and not to put themselves in danger by meeting strangers quietly from the Internet? How about reducing the bullying from other teenagers who have learned contempt of homosexuals from their parents? How about allowing gay people to plan for futures in committed, loving relationships that they can form naturallyand openly? How about validating those relations with marriage vows to create stable homes and families? How about allowing people who are not harming others and being Good people and pursuing ‘agape’ type love to be happy people?

    I’d have thought good Christians would welcome those things, at least for non-Christians, in the spirit of loving their neighbours as themselves and not behaving like the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus apparently railed against.

  78. Simian:

    Jill,
    You say that you have not had much success trying to explain your view to me.
    I think I understand your view Jill. I just don’t agree. But DanJo is doing a great job explaining a largely shared view.

  79. Jill:

    DanJo, I have to go out shortly but will read your post later. This is a reply to the earlier post.

    I really think you need bringing up to speed here. You may not know it, but the APA (whose decision to remove homosexuality from its DSM Register of paraphilias opened the door for the gay lib movement) also removed paedophilia at the same time, on exactly the same grounds. This was reinstated shortly afterwards after a public outcry. But look at Peter Tatchell’s blog – you will see that he does not think any harm comes to children from sexual activity, and that children have sexual ‘rights’. And at what age does a child stop being a child? Who decides? Who decides what ‘harm’ is? Paedophiles certainly don’t think there is any harm done to children; they will tell you that. Some gay men who were abused as children don’t think it did them any harm.

    It is a very slippery slope, DanJo. We are sexualising our children right now. They are receiving leaflets at school telling them all about various kinds of sex and sexual orientations. Just a few examples of books already recommended by local councils including Brighton & Hove, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Hampshire, Devon, Sheffield and many others. For five-year-olds – a cartoon picture of a particularly adventurous mummy and daddy having sex on a space hopper (yes, really!) with the caption ‘mummies and daddies fit together’, and lots more along those lines including explanations of sexual intercourse, oral sex, ejaculate, orgasm, various body parts, and of course bisexual, lesbian, homosexual and naturally ‘homophobia’. Seven-year-olds are told what having sex ‘feels like’ and how to masturbate, all about Straight and Gay (lots of pictures here). Fourteen year olds are fed gay soft porn. The Sheffield NHS has produced a leaflet entitled ‘An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away’ advocating sex or masturbation twice a week for schoolchildren.

    Having brought up four children I am very well aware of the need to produce truthful and straightforward answers to questions on sex which children come out with (usually on a crowded bus, I found) but I would strongly have objected to this kind of material being pumped out at such a young age by those in positions of trust, which just normalises underage sex and can cause considerable distress.

    And who is protesting about all this? Is it the British Humanist Association? The National Secular Society? No, it is the Christians.

  80. Tom:

    Jill , you say that the Bulls are upholding the sanctity of marriage and I am sure they would agree. Perhaps we should look at what they themselves say about this on their booking page:

    “please note that as Christians we have a deep regard for marriage (being the union of one man to one woman for life to the exclusion of all others)”.

    This is a high view of marriage ( “union of one man to one woman for life” means no divorce) which is usually referred to as Holy Matrimony, regarded as a sacrament in the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Protestants have a more mixed interpretation. Jesus seems to have insisted that there was no divorce – against the Mosaic Law – and this is still upheld by the Catholic Church which claims that annulments can only be granted where there was no sacrament in the first place – the ministers are the partners themselves, in the act of consummation, not the priest (or deacon) who is merely the Church’s official witness. This is why some registrar office marriages are regarded as binding by the RC Church. But unlike Mormons, Catholics do not believe the sacrament survives death, again on a strict interpretation of the words of Jesus.

    It seems that the problem the Bulls have perhaps inadvertantly set themselves is that marriage in a registrar office may not be Holy Matrimony. (I only say ‘may not’ because, as I have implied above, the Catholic Church complicates the issue by recognising first-time marriages in registrar offices between baptised persons as valid Holy Matrimony EXCEPT in the case that one of the parties is a Catholic). I don’t know if the Bulls have the theological sophistication to recognise all these pitfalls. For example, what would they make of a Muslim man who booked a room with his wife – having left the other three back home in Saudi Arabia?

    One last thought, on another website I saw this posting:

    “posted by Dorothy on 15-12-2010

    Christians should realise that they don’t have special rights to break the law of the land. the law applies equally to everyone! I stayed at this hotel in 2006 and had I known about this case I would have given evidence for the gay couple. It is untrue that unmarried couples are refused entry. My male partner and I stayed there. No questions were asked. I do not wear a wedding ring. We had a thoroughly miserable time as instead of the promised 4 poster bed and sea view we were given a poky attic room. The advertised ‘home cooked food’ was not available and although quite ill I had to walk a long way in to town for food. The room, although tiny, was littered with unnecessary ornaments that made it most unpleasant. All in all the most unwelcoming of hotels. Had I had the energy I would have sent a very long letter to the council detailing the many breaches of the advertising standards act. Presumably that law also does not apply to this couple as they have a special ‘Christian’ exemption! It is time tha”

    http://www.theway.co.uk/feature.php?id=8296

    If this is true (that the Bulls do not actually check hes and shes presenting themselves as Mr and Mrs conform to the high view of marriage they say they support) then they are guilty of window dressing homophobia.

    Oh, and finally, on your objections to sodomy which obviously not everyone shares. Jonathan Swift said that the Temple of Love was built athwart a sewer. Can you imagine that some people (not only homosexuals as one may imagine but also some heterosexual people) regard heterosexual sex as pretty disgusting and nauseating. I heard a perfectly heterosexual married aunt say “Aren’t men disgusting” – and many men think the same of a woman’s ‘bits’. Why else do several religions say that menstrual blood contaminates men – Judaism, Hinduism, Islam and…wait for it…Orthodox Churches bar menstruating women from communion.

  81. DanJ0:

    Jill, Peter Tatchell does not speak for all gay people. Nor is he an authority. In fact, he drives lots of gay people I know up the wall. Have you a link to the arguments you assigned to him? I know of his famous letter to the Guardian in 1997 but that doesn’t say what you are paraphrasing in your comment by any means.

    As for who decides at what age a child stops being a child, it’s the legislature. As far as criminal responsibility is concerned, it’s 10 years old. As far as consenting to sex is concerned, it’s 16 years old. The figure for consent is arbitrary as children mature at different rates but it looks like a reasonable and practical figure to me. The CPS and the judiciary have a mature view on the grey areas in my opinion so all is as it should be.

    The law on sexual offences in the UK makes a valuable distinction too between children under 13, who are not sexual beings, and being under age for sexual activity. Hence, a 18 year old is not a paedophile for having sex with a 15 year old, who is a sexual being, even though he commits an offence. It also goes on to set out abuses of trust by adults in authority over people of ages 16 and 17.

    Tatchell in his Guardian letter challenges the notion that sexual activity between children and adults is always harmful to the child. Rationally, that’s almost certainly true. However, we must proceed on the basis that it does cause harm as we never know whether it will or won’t for a particular child. If it doesn’t then that’s something to be praised while still criminalising the adult and possibly removing him or her from free society to protect it.

    All that said, paedophilia has nothing inherently to do with homosexuality … or heterosexuality. We don’t understand human sexuality very well but the fact that paedophiles tend to claim children are not generally harmed, as you point out, suggests they are dysfunctional in some significant way because clearly they are compared to the way we normally socialise people and paedophiles choose subjectively not to see it. Whether paedophilia is a pathology or not, the lack of consent, given that the minds of children are clearly still developing, makes it essentially rape just like cases of lack of consent between two adults in that respect.

  82. DanJ0:

    “DanJo, you are missing the vital ingredient here. You imagine that you are seeing things from a neutral position – you are not! You are seeing things from a Christian standpoint, because that has been the culture of the West for centuries.”

    By the way, that’s not true at all … I know very well that I am a product of the society I grew up in. That should be obvious by the examples I gave of why society is probably the way it is now. You, however, are seeing things from a Christian viewpoint. Like the overwhelming majority of religious people, you are probably Christian because of where you were born and who your parents were. Had we been born in Saudi Arabia as Saudi nationals then we would almost certainly be Wahhabi Muslims instead. That ought to give you and other Christians some food for thought when you talk of moral and immoral people. Your morals are clearly socialised. Therefore, why should the rest of us accept them based on an assertion of an absolute arbiter of morals and your understanding of what god wants rather than require you to argue for a set of ethics based on UK values and notions of human nature? Isn’t it better that we have secular laws that protect us all in our private and public space whilst seeking to arbitrate between interests in the areas the State has a legitimate interest in on behalf oif all of us, such as employment, goods and services, social provision, etc?

  83. Goy:

    There is one de facto point that may have been hinted at but not yet nailed and that is the State is trespassing on private property, business premises are not the same as public spaces.

    I think all sides of this debate will come to regret the courting of the State in the affairs of private property in matters of conscience and thresholds.

  84. Goy:

    as they also discriminate against heterosexual unmarried couples!

    As does the civil partnership legislation.

  85. Jill:

    The law is not God! I have always been opposed to the Civil Partnership legislation. I was disgusted that the Church of England Bishops with seats in the House of Lords did not stand shoulder to shoulder and vehemently oppose it. We are now reaping the results of this. Goy is quite right, this is a real can of worms which can never be properly settled.

    I can quote Peter Tatchell until the cows come home. Actually I quite admire him; he is open and honest about what he wants, which is not to conform to society but for society to conform to the gay agenda. He says: Whatever happened to the lofty ideals of gay liberation and sexual freedom? During the 1990s, there was a dramatic shift in the homosexual zeitgeist – from defining our needs on our terms, to meekly falling in with the prevailing heterosexual consensus. The dominant gay agenda is now equal rights and law reform, rather than gay emancipation and the transformation of society. That political retreat represents a massive loss of imagination, confidence, and ethical vision.

    […] Although getting rid of homophobic discrimination is a laudable aim, it doesn’t go far enough. Ending anti-gay bias will not resolve all the problems faced by lesbian and gay people. Some of our difficulties arise not from homophobia, but from the more general eroto-phobic and sex-negative nature of contemporary culture (which also harms heterosexuals). These destructive puritanical attitudes are evident in the censorship of sexual imagery, the inadequacy of sex education lessons, and the criminalisation of sex workers and consensual sadomasochistic relationships.

    […] The cost to our community is the surrender of our unique, distinctive queer identity. The unwritten social contract at the heart of law reform is that lesbians and gays will behave respectably and comply with the heterosexual moral agenda. No more cruising, orgies or sadomasochism! In return, the “good gays” are rewarded with equal treatment. Meanwhile, all the sex-repressive social structures, institutions and value systems remain intact, and the “bad gays” remain sexual outlaws. This nouveau gay reformism involves the abandonment of any critical perspective on straight culture. In place of a healthy scepticism towards heterosexual morality, it substitutes naive acquiescence.

    http://newhumanist.org.uk/1263/beyond-equality

    http://www.petertatchell.net/lgbt_rights/equality_not_enough/beyond_equality.htm

  86. DanJ0:

    “I can quote Peter Tatchell until the cows come home”

    I’m not sure what time the cows come home but in the meantime could you quote the bit that supports what you wrote here so that we could see for ourselves what he says about it?

    “But look at Peter Tatchell’s blog – you will see that he does not think any harm comes to children from sexual activity, and that children have sexual ‘rights’.”

    Tatchell is to the recognition of gay rights as Germaine Greer is to the recognition of women’s rights. If you want to quote someone a bit more mainstream and representative then someone like Matthew Parris might be better.

    Of course, gay people don’t have a single community anyway. Many of us are normal, high-functioning members of society, mostly indistinguishable from anyone else, who happen to be attracted to adult members of the same sex. Therefore, we have no official spokespeople and aren’t easily represented by individuals or groups.

    Interestingly, the number of gay people in the UK is probably more than the number of Church of England attendees each week and could easily be more than the number of attendees for both Church of England and Catholic churches put together each week. It kind of puts this clash of special interests in perspective, really.

  87. DanJ0:

    “DanJo, I don’t think it should be illegal. But I reserve the right to object to it”

    You don’t need to reserve the right, you already have it and it is protected in English and EU law. Moreover, you are supported in this by liberals like me.

    However, if you run a business then you should separate your personal lives from your business lives for some things as in business you must adhere to the relevant legislation. People who won’t are not ‘bearing witness’, that’s just fluff to make them feel better.

  88. DanJ0:

    Just a comment about this too: “Actually I quite admire him; he is open and honest about what he wants, which is not to conform to society but for society to conform to the gay agenda.”

    I’m interested in what you think ‘the gay agenda’ might be. For me, as a gay man, I simply want to be not discriminated against in the normal operation of society just for being attracted to members of the same sex. It isn’t complex or sinister. It’s the same for black people in a predominately white society. Or women in what was a predominately male-run world of business or the world of politics. I have no choice being gay, it doesn’t harm other people, and it is irrelevant for the most part in the scheme of things. Therefore systematic discrimination is unjust and immoral in a liberal democracy like ours.

  89. Jill:

    You yourself mentioned the letter to the Guardian, DanJo. In it, he defended an academic book about ‘Boy-Love’ against what he saw as calls for it to be censored. He wrote that the book’s arguments were not shocking, but ‘courageous’.

    He said the book documented ‘examples of societies where consenting inter-generational sex is considered normal’.

    He gave an example of a New Guinea tribe where ‘all young boys have sex with older warriors as part of their initiation into manhood’ and allegedly grow up to be ‘happy, well-adjusted husbands and fathers’.
    And he concluded: ‘The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures.

    ‘Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13.

    ‘None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy.

    ‘While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.’

    I have more to say, but will come back later.

  90. DanJ0:

    You may as well publish the text of the letter in full:

    “ROS Coward (Why Dares to Speak says nothing useful, June 23) thinks it is “shocking” that Gay Men’s Press has published a book, Dares To Speak, which challenges the assumption that all sex involving children and adults is abusive. I think it is courageous.

    The distinguished psychologists and anthropologists cited in this book deserve to be heard. Offering a rational, informed perspective on sexual relations between younger and older people, they document examples of societies where consenting inter-generational sex is considered normal, beneficial and enjoyable by old and young alike.

    Prof Gilbert Herdt points to the Sambia tribe of Papua New Guinea, where all young boys have sex with older warriors as part of their initiation into manhood. Far from being harmed, Prof Herdt says the boys grow up to be happy, well-adjusted husbands and fathers.

    The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy.

    While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.”

    Now let’s see how you actually describe that:

    “But look at Peter Tatchell’s blog – you will see that he does not think any harm comes to children from sexual activity, and that children have sexual ‘rights’.”

    I don’t like the contents of Tatchell’s letter or think it helps to write a letter like that in a national newspaper though it is, of course, sensible to check our assumptions every now and again on all topics. But you are overplaying the contents as far as I can see. Of course, all this is a tangent to the main topic. Tatchell is an exceptional individual (in the numeric sense) in any talk about gay rights.

    On the face of it, it looks to me like you are using him here to demonise gay people in general. I would like to see you write here that you recognise that he is not at all representative of gay people in general.

  91. Goy:

    @Jill,

    Interesting articles of orientation from Peter Tatchell under the auspices of equality the crushing of identity, conscience and political-social reference points must be oppressive and unbearable for a man of Peter Tatchell’s individualism and exuberance.

    Peter’s articles of discrimination and identity – for that is what they are would not be out of place if put in the context of the sentiments of the EDL.

    “We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns” but we are not all Jock Tamson’s or even want to self-identity as the accused.

  92. Jill:

    I supplied the link to the Tatchell stuff so you could read it for yourselves. I merely abridged it to the relevant bits to save space.
    DanJo, it seems to me that you really are not getting the fact that It Is Not All About Us. Do you really think we care for ourselves? This is a cause – the loss of Christian influence, which most people would acknowledge would be severely detrimental to society. The number of church attendees is neither here nor there. In fact three quarters of the population described themselves as Christian in the last census, which is a fact I expect you well know, and which suggests to me that they would prefer our country to remain a Christian one.

    The ultimate aim of the gay agenda is to get rid of all opposition to homosexual practice. You have to accept that what is contrary to nature cannot be imposed by force. You can criminalize us but ultimately you will realize that Christians are the best friends you have at the moment. There is another religion far less tolerant waiting in the wings for us to be driven underground, and you would very quickly want us back.

    You mention age-of-consent laws (which were brought about in the face of apathy and opposition by yet another Christian – not humanist or atheist, note – reformer, Josephine Butler, appalled at the sex trade in young virgins) but these laws are not being upheld. The Tatchellites actively campaign to have this reduced to 14 on the basis of ‘children are already having sex, let’s make it legal’ – so reversing Josephine Butler’s hard fought battle.

    You say you are normal high-functioning members of society, which is something I have said all along – so where is the discrimination? Because a handful of B&Bs among squillions don’t want you sharing a bed with another man under their roof, even though they would let you have a single room? Well diddums. Find another B&B. I don’t suppose gay B&Bs would much like Christians holding prayer meetings and singing hymns under their roofs either. We have already had the dog conversation, but some B&Bs don’t want dogs. Perhaps it is legal to discriminate on this basis, but is it fair? Perhaps the Canine Defence League should start a campaign to force all B&B owners to accept their pets. If they make enough noise I am sure they could get the law changed. But then we will have the problem that some gay B&B owners might not like dogs … you see how ridiculous it gets? Far better to live and let live, to NOT force people to do things they don’t like, to let people like the Bulls live in peace. People would respect you a lot more for it.

  93. Jill:

    The saddest thing about this pro-gay legislation is that it has pushed another group of people underground – the ex-gays. I have quite a lot to do with this side of things, being (in an admin capacity) part of a group of professional therapists and people who have come out of ssa along with assorted medics and concerned academics, so I do get to hear a lot about the distress caused to them. They are hated by self-affirming gays for obvious reasons and are afraid to go public with their stories for fear of being targeted.

    One of the consequences is that those who are unhappy with their same-sex desires now feel that they have nowhere to turn. People who once would have walked alongside them and helped them overcome these desires are being driven underground, or lose their jobs. (I personally know some.) So without support they too become suicidal. You might disagree with this therapy, but there is no doubt that it works when the will is there, in many cases.

    The alternative, which is now held to be paramount, is that ssa people are told they must affirm themselves as gay. But surprisingly this does not bring the contentment that was hoped. People still feel suicidal. Even if all around them affirm them as gay, they are still unhappy. If the whole world affirmed them as gay, they would still feel this way. In the most gay-affirming societies suicide rates (as well as drug and alcohol abuse) are at the highest levels. Even in long-term one-to-one relationships very few are faithful. Why is this?

    The truth is that our desires are often disordered. People with sexual addictions of any kind, or any other kind of addictions, cannot be happy. They are always seeking, for what is unattainable.

    I do not minimise the feelings of these people; the sex drive is very powerful. But it is not everything. Many people have had to live, for one reason or another, without ever having had a sexual encounter. They survive. There is life outside of sex. Loving need not involve sex.

    Nor do I deny that there are some same-sex couples who can live quite happily together, but levels of domestic violence are much higher in these relationships.

    Even if you don’t like this view, DanJo, you cannot deny that there are many compassionate, caring Christian folk who just want what is best. The Bulls have not yet lost their case, and even if they do they may take counter action under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights on freedom of thought, conscience and religion, which states ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, and to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.’

  94. Sophie:

    @ DanJo: It’s delightful to read someone who can argue so eloquently the message of common sense and compassion I have tried so hard to convey.

    I’m Christian who believes gay marriage should be a right and that the Bulls are misguided people who are no better than the Christians who fought against Martin Luther King and black civil rights.

    I link all groups seeking equality, whether gay, female or black. This has been true since childhood. My father, now retired, was a beloved family doctor and committed feminist. One of the key events of his youth was watching a brilliant doctor, one of his mentors, lose his career – his life’s work – simply because he was caught in a public lavatory with another man.

    This filled my father with an outrage that he conveyed to all his children. I am old enough to remember the sex and race discrimination laws coming in, and I know that human rights are won by changes in the law – waiting for the last bigot to die takes far too long.

    Jill has a compulsive interest in sodomy which tells us more about her than anyone else. However I’m sure you must know that, statistically speaking, her level of disgust and denial is unusual even among religious people. Many Christians feel as I do, and you may even meet them here.

  95. DanJ0:

    “The Bulls have not yet lost their case, and even if they do they may take counter action under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights on freedom of thought, conscience and religion”

    Jill, they’d use the Human Rights Act under English Law first. That’s what it is there for so that people don’t have to seek redress at the European level in the first instance. Also, if you know anything about these sort of rights then you’ll know that the second part of Article 9 is a qualified right.

    You may think what you want, and hold your own beliefs, and not be coerced into a religion by the State. That’s protected by the first part of Article 9. The right to manifest your beliefs in private and in public is the second part of Article 9 and it may be limited in law and balanced with other things.

    Well, good luck to them if they want to fight it there too. No doubt the CLC will be very keen to continue to use them to pursue their own special interests agenda.

  96. Tom:

    I find this argument fascinating and think the people concerned are by and large arguing well and keeping away from the temptation to go in for ad hominems. I think when people start down the anecdote route though (and the plural of anecdote is not data I am sure most of us realise) they might be inviting some cod-psychological analysis. I don’t want to be insensitive but when we are told a little boy on his summer holidays stumbles upon a nudist area on the beach and then begins bed-wetting there must be a connection I think that is an enormous leap. Well, there may be a connection, but there may well be not. There is no means of proving it known to medical science. But people look for meaning. You might as well say such an experience accounts for my child becoming a homosexual. I know the ex-gay people like to blame homosexuality on life incidents like an overbearing mother or a distant father, but this is pure conjecture; psychoanalytic theory has no scientific basis and is largely the literary invention of Sigmund Freud. If anyone has read in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life about the train journey where Freud meets the young man on his way to Naples who forgets a word from a quotation from Virgil you will see how Freud, casting himself as a kind of Sherlock Holmes, of the unconscious, unravels the mystery around a flow of blood and the young man’s concern that his girl friend had missed her period; they were on the train to Naples at the time of the year when the blood of St Gennaro is supposed to liquefy miraculously, and Hitler had just started the Anschluss of Austria with all the feared consequences for those of Jewish blood – the young man was Jewish – and so on and so forth. It makes fascinating reading but it is all conjecture, like a brilliant novel.

    The question I have spent rather a long time getting to it why does Jill object so strongly to Civil Partnership legislation? How can that possibly harm Christian marriage? I have never heard anyone give a satisfactory answer as to why that should harm marriage. On the contrary it might do it some good and improve not only the moral standards of homosexuals of whom she has such a low opinion, but make heterosexuals make a bit more effort. She blames the bishops for not voting it (undemocratically) out in the Lords. Well some of those bishops, Scott-Joynt among them, have done their bit in lowering the high standards of Christian marriage by getting though the legislation allowing remarriage of divorcees in church. But even if same-sex marriage should be allowed here as it is in an increasing number of European countries, Canada and some American states, how does that harm marriage, Christian or otherwise? It might change the definition but as I understand it in none of those countries that have have the churches been obliged to offer it. I look forward to0 having a knock-down argument from someone who is so passionate about the rightness of her opinions.

  97. DanJ0:

    “The ultimate aim of the gay agenda is to get rid of all opposition to homosexual practice. You have to accept that what is contrary to nature cannot be imposed by force. You can criminalize us but ultimately you will realize that Christians are the best friends you have at the moment. ”

    You appear to think there is a single gay agenda despite all I’ve said. This is very odd as I don’t think it is a rational position to hold. If there is any sort of widely-shared gay agenda then it is simply to make being gay unremarkable for most people.

    The significant advances in gay rights recently have been made mostly by liberal and centre-left politicians who are not gay. By observation, gay people appear to be best served by liberals and the centre left-wing who naturally favour social justice. The only people who will be criminalised are those who illegally discriminate in the supply of goods and services. I hope opposition in the private or public space to homosexual practice is never criminalised.

    You know, years ago being black was remarkable. I have heard older black people say that some people used to come and touch them in the street, not in a threatening way but in astonishment. That seems bizarre now, of course. It will be the same for gay people soon. It will be unremarkable because sexual orientation is actually irrelevant for the most part and people are coming to realise this as gay people are seen for what they are. Just like most people do with skin colour.

  98. Jill:

    Several things here, Tom. I am not remotely interested in having a knock-down argument or insisting on the ‘rightness’ of my opinions. I do not have a low opinion of homosexuals. I merely challenge a lot of the inaccuracies, ignorance and propaganda that abounds.

    The purpose behind my little tale about the sand dunes was to illustrate that in spite of the hurt done to my family (and it was very real, believe me), I was prepared to live and let live – I did not feel the need to hunt out and punish the perpetrators (who were definitely in the wrong here) as this gay couple backed by Stonewall seem intent on doing to the Bulls. Just a little exercise in tolerance! Just who are the bigots?

    My ‘opinions’ as you put it are drawn from my faith. Do not imagine that people of faith accept it blindly. Most of us go through periods of questioning and unbelief, which is necessary in each generation to ‘test’ it. I have though lived long enough to see unhappy consequences of things which seemed like a good idea at the time. Time and time again, I have come to realise that the Bible was right all along, and I was wrong. I have no doubt that this legislation will come to grief somewhere along the line, because we still have some way to go.

    Civil Partnerships were something I don’t think were necessary. I am all in favour of people being able to leave their money and property to whomever they want, but that could have been done without CPs. I think these are highly discriminatory, being only available to people of the same sex. In other words, they have devalued marriage, and for what? If you don’t think they have devalued marriage, how would you feel about counterfeit money? Does that harm the economy?

    We don’t know yet how things will pan out. There is now a push for straight couples to form civil partnerships. This will be ‘marriage lite’ with much less commitment, which cannot benefit the family structure. There is also a huge push for gay ‘marriage’. Civil Partnerships are referred to by many as gay marriage. Once marriage ceases to be defined as being between a man and a woman, where do you stop? Many other mind-boggling possibilities come to mind. My parents’ generation would never have believed that there would one day be such a thing as gay marriage, so the idea is not far-fetched at all.

    Denying gay marriage is not discrimination. Discrimination is about injustice. Gay people have the same rights as everybody else – to grant gay marriage is to give an extra right. THIS is discrimination. Why should two elderly sisters be denied the right to marry just because they are not having sex? The whole thing is a can of worms.

    CPs have opened the door to gay adoption, which deprives an already-damaged child of the right to either a mother or a father. Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to close because they won’t go along with this, thus depriving hard-to-place children of families. The Catholic agencies were the ones with the best record of placing disabled and disadvantaged children.

    It seems that there is no limit to what sacrifices the rest of us must make so that same-sex relationships can be given the equivalence of marriage. The reason why gay lobby groups are so hostile towards Christians, and why they are attracted to blogs such as this, is that we are the biggest threat to them and must be silenced. As you see, it is not that easy. (Actually, we are not the biggest threat at all, but we are the easier to silence.)

    Having said that, I do have other things to do, and cannot keep on repeating the same old stuff, so will have to withdraw shortly unless there is anything I feel I must reply to.

    DanJo, you do not get ex-blacks.

  99. DanJ0:

    “Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to close because they won’t go along with this, thus depriving hard-to-place children of families.”

    No-one forced them to close, they closed themselves rather than obey the law. They sacrificed the well-being of the children for their miss-placed principles.

  100. Jill:

    This is why the law is wrong, DanJo. Children are more important.

  101. DanJ0:

    Jill, you seem to see slippery slopes all over the place.

    The fact that Christian B&B owners cannot refuse rooms to Muslims simply for being Muslims under the goods and services law does not necessarily mean that dog owners will be queuing cases up in the courts. Dogs are not people and so they do not have equivalent rights to people and the issues are therefore quite different.

    Recognising the rights of homosexuals to the same sort of things to heterosexuals when there is no relevant difference does not necessarily mean that paedophiles will be asking for the same reognition. Practising paedophiles do not accept that children cannot consent and that they are committing rape. That is an absolutely crucial difference.

    Slippery slope arguments are usually logical fallacies. They rely on people not looking at the individual steps and checking whether one naturally follows from the other. I’m afraid I tend to check so they won’t work with me. Likewise with the naturalistic fallacies you have used, I can spot them almost immediately.

  102. Tom:

    Okay, Jill, we all have busy lives, especially with Christmas coming up, but I must say I have not found what amounts to an argument in what you have posted. If CPs are counterfeit marriage, as you assert then why not admit gay people to the real thing? And before you say it, I do realise there is a distinction between Civil Marriage which is a purely secular arrangement and Holy Matrimony which the Catholic Church at least regards as a sacrament. Civil marriages have been only been recognized in England and Wales as a legal alternative to church marriages under the Marriage Act of 1836. So they are not ancient at all but, as I say, a secular arrangement. In France all marriage to be recognised by the state have to be solemnised at the Mairie of the local town, usually before any religious ceremony. Priests do not have the power to act as registrars as they do here. They whole thing is a muddle and I think the state should get out of the marriage business, make everything a civil partnership for everyone, as the French could more easily have done than in complicating the issue with PACS. The Canadian government considered this course of action at the time they were debating admitting same sex partners to marriage. This course of action would then leave it up to the churches to perform Holy Matrimony…and to make things clear, withdraw from the clergy the right to act as registrars.

    You say ” I cannot keep on repeating the same old stuff “. Unfortunately that’s what you do without apparently listening when people on this have given really challenging arguments. Repeating yourself and all the old canards about spinster sisters is no good Jill, if you cannot come up with rational arguments against admitting gay people to marriage rather than giving us a tissue of emotional doomsday objections. The Catholic adoption agencies recognised that some children are best placed with a same-sex couple, such as a little boy who has been abused and terrorised by men. They had no objection to placing children with single gay adopters. Vincent Nichols admitted this; what they didn’t want was for two same-sex people to adopt. You can read what you like into that but I know the Catholic Church very well as a post-Catholic and realise that the hierarchy were using the Adoption Agencies issue as a way of showing their displeasure of the growing acceptability of gay people in public life – throwing the toys out of the pram, if you like. What you and others seem to prefer by supporting the actions of the recuseniks among the agencies is that children should rather be left in institutions than given the chance of a loving home. And the recent history of the Catholic Church’s institutions for the care of children should give you pause, I should have thought.

    This is an argument you won’t convince anybody of because it is obvious that you are the one peddling an agenda, of the victimisation of Christians in this country (when it suits) otherwise this is a Christian country according to the census (when it suits), that gay people are an all-powerful lobby (when it suits) and a mere 1.5% of the population (when it suits). That majoritarian argument I have seen you make. …but then what about the parallel study in the US which showed a gay population of 8%? Are the Americans gayer than the Brits… or was there something wrong with the study in the first place?

  103. DanJ0:

    Incidentally, my opinion of the quacks and zealots who encourage the vulnerable to try to change their sexual orientation to be in accord with local religious beliefs or to make closed-minded people happy is pretty low. In fact, I think they are at best very cruel and at worst positively evil. If a human-interested and loving god exists then I very much doubt those sort of people will be enjoying divine rewards when the times comes. Quite the opposite, I expect.

  104. DanJ0:

    “DanJo: It’s delightful to read someone who can argue so eloquently the message of common sense and compassion I have tried so hard to convey”

    Thanks Sophie. I recognise of course that there must be many Christian people who are decent and loving, and who live and let live as far as homosexuality is concerned, whether or not it is a sin for the people involved. It’s sad that the more vocal or objectionable people always stand out.

    I am an atheist as I have said but I find it hard to imagine a loving god in the mould of the New Testament one who would find love and happiness to be an abomination if it occurs between two men yet consider exactly the same thing between a man and a woman to be wonderful.

  105. Tom:

    DanJo, Wayne Besen has been through the horror of it and written about it with videos on his blog Truth Wins Out:

    http://www.truthwinsout.org/pressreleases/2010/07/9768/

    I first heard him talking about his experience on the Dan Savage podcast who, incidentally, started the recent ” It Gets Better” Campaign after the recent suicides of gay teenagers in the States. The President went on to record his message and David Cameron has followed suit:

    http://www.itgetsbetter.org/

  106. Goy:

    @Jill,

    “The reason why gay lobby groups are so hostile towards Christians, and why they are attracted to blogs such as this, is that we are the biggest threat to them and must be silenced. As you see, it is not that easy. (Actually, we are not the biggest threat at all, but we are the easier to silence.)”

    Homosexuals are being used as tools to batter down the church door, pawns for assassinating bishops in a political chess game, it is not in their interests for the christian side to be defeated.

  107. DanJ0:

    I really must stop looking through this. :)

    “The Tatchellites actively campaign to have this reduced to 14 on the basis of ‘children are already having sex, let’s make it legal’ – so reversing Josephine Butler’s hard fought battle. ”

    I am very happy for the age of consent to remain at 16 years olf in this country, I have no wish for it to be lowered to that in place in the Vatican City which is actually 14 years old.

    Of course, the Vatican City inherits much of its law from Italy where the age of consent is also 14 years old but I find that quite interesting. At least it isn’t as low as 13 years old as it is in Spain and where it was 12 years old until very recently. That’s Spain where almost everyone is baptised in the Roman Catholic faith.

  108. Jill:

    Ah yes, Wayne Besen, that anti-religious bigot who stalks ex-gay leaders and prevents ssa people seeking help by the use of the bullhorn to drown out conference speakers, and who slanders family advocates with hateful and bigoted accusations.

    I know several people who have overcome same-sex attraction who would disgree with you about ex-gay therapy, but then, some of us believe in the freedom to choose. These therapists do not drag anybody off the street to ‘cure’ them; they believe that people have the right to self-determination. The aim is not to make them straight, merely to reduce same-sex desires – although many do go on to marry and have children.

    But I can well see why gay activists hate them and the people they help. And Besen is a perfect example of why ex-gays are afraid to come out of the closet. Which, of course, is why he does what he does. I would call it persecution.

    And I love it when atheists try to dictate Christian doctrine. Do let me point out that my view is the mainstream in Christendom (in spite of the fifth columnists who are sadly present within the faith).

    Age of consent is a social construct. Some countries – mainly the ones who execute homosexuals and people who engage in extramarital sex – have none at all. In the Roman Catholic Church, being global, sets the age of a minor as being up to 18.

  109. DanJ0:

    At its core, this story is pretty similar to the one about the Muslim checkout operator in Sainsburys:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article2558198.ece

    Now, all credit in principle to Sainsburys for making allowances for diversity in its workforce but I think this is too much in practice too. Allowing its staff to change their shift patterns around Ramadan, for example, seems very sensible as it gets the best out of its employees, it costs little in the scheme of things, and the customers won’t be affected.

    However, when a Muslim checkout operator decides that he is uncomfortable because of his beliefs handling bottles of alcohol or perhaps pork products to be consumed by other people then I’m inclined to question 1. whether he is in the right business, and 2. whether he is unnecessarily and inappropriately over-extending his own beliefs into the lives of others.

    This is the sort of area in a multicultural and diverse society like ours where I think we need to be quite clear on the principles and perhaps do a carefully considered tidyup in our laws and structures. There needn’t be a clash of cultures and special interests if we get this right. Laws need to be secular and religion-neutral, but respectful of the sense of identity religions gives people.

    I live near Leicester where there is a large number of Hindus and a very ethnically diverse population. For the most part, it all works together very well. In the inner city, I think most people are Hindus or Muslims. Come November time, the streets in the Hindu quarter are decked in Diwali decorations. As soon as Diwali is over, the centre panels of the decorations are replaced with Christmas ones. It’s genius! I’d be quite happy with Eid street parties organised by the City Council too. Afterall, these people are the core council tax payers.

    Our laws need to be liberal, secular, and democratic to embrace all that but our services can reflect the local population. That we have a Christian heritage should not mean that we try to push this sort of diversity down and give a privileged say to our minority Christian population in these matters. We all own our society, including our British born immigrants, and we need to find ways to live together under a law that treats us as equals.

  110. Jill:

    I agree with all of that, DanJo. I live in North London, where we have a similar population, and we manage to live together very peacably. Most of my neighbours are Hindus, who happily share our religious festivals even if they don’t actively celebrate.

    It is the ‘seek and destroy’ people like the pair who have targeted the Bulls with the intent of driving them out of business where the trouble starts.

  111. DanJ0:

    I think their intent is to make sure the law is enforced rather than drive them out of business though it remains to be seen if the owners have a suitable defence.

    I wouldn’t tolerate a “no blacks, no Irish, no dogs” sign in a B&B window even if it was easier for black or Irish people to find a normal B&B which does not illegally discriminate.

    The beauty of a test case is it help clear ambiguity up and with the CLC inevitably backing the owners it shouldn’t cost them anything in legal fees I expect.

  112. Jill:

    DanJo, it is brutal and repressive regimes which force people to act against their consciences (or to go out of business). I hope we don’t turn into one of those.

    Race is not the same as sexual behaviour. Christianity teaches that every human being is created in the image of God and must be accorded due dignity – but nowhere does it teach that we have to facilitate immoral behaviour, all kinds of which are clearly spelt out in scripture. We are going to have to agree to differ here. ‘Here we stand, we can do no other.’

    It is the Christian Institute which is funding the legal defence, not the CLC. Both organisations rely on voluntary donations for their own funding. The gay couple, however, are being funded by the Government-funded Equality and Human Rights Commission – in other words, with your money and my money.

    I wish you and yours a very happy Christmas.

  113. Tom:

    I think the argument that the Bulls will driven out of business if they are found to be breaking the law is like saying a Muslim taxi-driver was driven out of business when he would not take a guide-dog in his cab. In both cases, we see the clash between personal private convictions of the individual (‘it’s my cab’ or ‘it’s my home so I can do what I like’) and the public duty they incur is not to discriminate in goods once they run a business. Neither is ‘forced’ out of business; it would be a choice, just as the Catholic adoptions agencies made a choice. Society through Parliament and the courts has maintained that the personal rights of the taxi driver (and possibly the Bulls) have to come second to general rule of non-discrimination in goods and services, for the greater good of society.

  114. Jill:

    One small difference here, Tom – this is a Christian country. In predominently Muslim lands taxi drivers might not be expected to take dogs in their cabs.

    As to the ‘greater good’ of society, this cannot be served by driving Christianity – the greatest force for good in our society – out of the public sphere. But hello – this argument has just come full circle.

    A happy Christmas to you too, whatever it may mean to you!

  115. Tom:

    Jill, thank you for your somewhat nuanced Christmas wishes. Not sure how to take that really.

    I unreservedly wish you and yours a Happy and Holy Christmas.

  116. Jill:

    We celebrate the birth of Christ – you may not! There was certainly no offence intended. :)

  117. Simian:

    Jill
    A reponse to your continuing theme that this is a christian country.

    In practice this is already a multicultural secular society, where we have a culture of not discriminating against people who are not like us. London, where you live is as you know one of the most multi-cultural capitals in the World.

    I think we can accept that the predominant religion from a cultural perspective has been Christianity. Whether you think that Christian religious conviction is essential for the wellbeing of the country going forward is a matter of opinion. And the alternative to Christianity is not by default another religion. Some of us see a way forward where Christianity remains, the religion of choice for those who seek it, but for the rest of us is replaced by enlightened humanism. But I think that is still a long way off.

    Happy Christmas anyway. As a Humanist I still enjoy the joy that this seasonal event brings in the depth of Winter. The celebration certainly predates the advent of Christianity and I can’t see it disappearing any time soon! :-)

  118. DanJ0:

    This isn’t a Christian country in practice or in law in any meaningful way.

    We have an established church though I’m not sure for how long despite it relatively mostly benign and unintrusive. Heck, my local vicar famously doesn’t even believe in god. We nominally have Bishops Spiritual in the House of Lords, but I think that may change in the future too. We have some legacy laws restricting the monarch to CofE spouses though I think even the queen is in favour of removing that. There’s a few things about bibles in courtrooms, which can be avoided, and at coronations which is just tradition for most people. Radio 4 has Thought (or Platitude) for the Day, though that is always under attack. Those damned Sunday trading laws are still there for the time being, though they’re defended on family grounds rather than religion. I suppose Songs of Praise is still around while the current elderly people survive.

    No, our laws are essentially secular and justified in the normal way rather than by appeal to religious text. Thank goodness. The alternative is some sort of theocracy and we have had our fill of those in this country’s past.

    The famous census information about self-identity in religion? Well, that really needs to be put to bed. I’d like them to ask supplementary questions next time. I was christened CofE and attended Sunday School as a child and I thoughtlessly ticked the closest box for years saying I was CofE despite having no real belief in the Christian god. Weekly church attendence is the best measure of Christian belief, perhaps adding a few thousand for cell churches, and removing a few thousand for those older people who go for company.

    Most people I know claim to be agnostic, meaning they don’t really know, or are comfortable with the idea of a vague god thingy which doesn’t intrude on their lives. The census should ask explicitly things like: Do you believe that god became man ~2000 years ago, performed miracles, died, rose from the dead, and changed the spiritual relationship between god and mankind forever though the Holy Spirit? And then provide another box which said: Would you like to think some sort of god exists which doesn’t require anything much on a daily basis, looks after dead people as long as they are good in life on the whole, and punishes very wicked people? Would we get the sort of percentage of people then ticking the first box? I don’t think so. And the second box is not a Christian belief system.

  119. DanJ0:

    Gah, I’d love an edit function for when I spot things I don’t see when I type but immediately see when I read back after posting. Lords Spiritual! Etc.

  120. DanJ0:

    Apologies by the way for thinking it was the CLC directly involved in the case, I’ve seen news items about the case from both. For some reason, I thought the CLC was the legal arm of the Christian Institute as the CI is a charity, but apparently not. I imagined a similar setup to Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust.

  121. Sophie:

    The evidence is that sexual reparation therapy doesn’t work. Sexual preference is inherent, with many and various causes, some genetic, others hormonal, and none within the control of the individual.

    It amuses me to hear homosexuality described as self-determined. There’s a test anyone can do to disprove this daft idea. It’s easy, convincing and requires no special equipment. Just go out one day and make a concerted effort to find individuals of your own sex attractive. If you’re not gay it won’t work. Simple as that.

    DanJo wrote: “Homosexuality is common across societies and throughout history. It doesn’t go away and the sex drive is one of the strongest instincts. Homosexual men don’t usually have a choice of being heterosexual or homosexual. I don’t. Believe me, I would love to have grown up heterosexual as it would have saved a lot of anguish and alienation. Therefore, homosexual acts and relationships are inevitable.”

    “So, what are the consequences? Well, suicide is the most obvious one. I seriously considered it aged 20 when I was clearly going to fail to meet my parents’ expectations or have a normal life like other people. In fact, probably the only thing that stopped me when I was sitting on that tower block ledge was the knowledge that it would destroy my mother’s remaining life. As you may know, there are campaigns in the USA today to try to lower the rates of suicides of gay teenagers, and those who are bullied as though they are gay, in that Christian country.”

    When an individual commits suicide during or after any type of therapy it’s near enough impossible for a court of law to establish a direct causal link between the therapy and the suicide. The very fact that someone feels the need for therapy can be used as a defence against suggestions that the therapy alone caused the death. There’s always a chance that person might have killed themselves anyway.

    But there is evidence and evidence. When deaths and damage are repeatedly connected to a therapy, people take notice. Eventually professionals conclude that there is a link. All the national counseling and psychiatric bodies here and in America consider reparation therapy unethical because of clinical experience. There have been too many associated deaths and too many damaged patients for the professionals to ignore. Sexual reorientation therapy is considered so dangerous that members of the American Counseling Association are advised never to be associated with it. Many “ex-ex-gays” end up needing psychiatric care. The British Medical Association is among a number of respected medical associations which are trying to get the practice outlawed. It is unprecedented for any form of therapy to be ostracised in such a comprehensive fashion.

    The American Psychological Association states: “There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.”

    The American Medical Association officially “opposes the use of ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy that is based on the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.”

    It’s hard being gay in a heterosexist world. It’s even harder if you’re a gay teenager and your family believes that homosexuality is a major sin because God says so. Trying to fix things by changing a gay person’s sexual preference is as stupid and wicked as trying to reduce the harm done by racism by counseling black people to accept that racism is what they deserve.

    Sexual reparative therapy doesn’t work, and most of its key figures have eventually either come out or been exposed as gay, often in scandalous circumstances. In 2007, three former leaders of Exodus International, America’s largest ex-gay ministry, made a public apology. They said they had become disillusioned with the group’s ideas and concerned about what they described as the wrenching human toll of such gay conversion efforts.

    “Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families. Although we acted in good faith, we have since witnessed the isolation, shame, fear and loss of faith that this message creates.”

    Now a licensed family therapist, former Exodus co-founder Michael Bussee left Exodus in 1979 after he fell in love with a man who was a fellow ex-gay counselor with the group. He speaks out frequently against ex-gay therapies.

    “God’s love and forgiveness does indeed change people,” said Bussee, who remains an evangelical Christian. “It changed me. It just didn’t make me straight.”

    To quote DanJo again: “Homosexuality is common across societies and throughout history.” More than that, it occurs in most other animals. A recent study showed that, among white ibis, homosexuality was directly linked to mercury pollution. The higher the level of mercury, the more gay ibis there were, in a very neat correlation. Even Jill will find it difficult to claim that these immoral ibis chose to be homosexual. Of course human beings are not birds, and the causes of an individual’s sexual preference are more complex than mercury, but the more we know about sexuality (and biology) the clearer it becomes that the views Jill puts forward do not align with the facts.

  122. DanJ0:

    I’ve been reading up on sexual reparative therapy. It’s even worse than I thought. :(

    The notion that we’re not operating according to design or that we’re contrary to nature seems to crop up quite a lot in the religious interpretations of it. Even if homosexuals were broken in some way by their environment and could be somehow fixed or at least have it suppressed then why would we be obliged to go through it?

    One of my previous managers had cerebral palsy. He was highly intelligent, very charming, and held a high level position in the company. He was married and I believe he had kids. However, his speech was slurred, his co-ordination was a bit off so that writing was hard, and he walked with a limp. I dare say his condition limited some of his life choices as I doubt he could go on a skiing holiday for example.

    Clearly, we’re not ‘designed’ to have cerebral palsy. His condition is at the same time ‘contrary to nature’ and occurred entirely within nature through no fault of his own. He grew up with it and learned how to cope and as an adult it is no doubt a core part of his identity. If he chose not to take a fix which made his condition somewhat better after sustained treatment then would he be ‘immoral’ for not trying to revert as far as possible to the ideal design of a human being?

  123. Randal Oulton:

    >> as long as the business receives absolutely no funding from the public sector, then this to me would still constitute a private matter.

    Just a note here. Not sure if you’ve ever filed a tax return for a business or not, but in doing so, you declare all your revenue, on which income tax is be owing. The next part of the tax return is, of course, claiming eligible business expenses incurred in the earning on that income. Your being allowed to claim those expenses reduces the amount of taxable income and therefore the amount of income tax you would otherwise have owed.

    The amount of the reduction in income tax is in effect a public subsidy. You may not personally view in that way, but I assure you policy makers and tax regulators do. That is why expenses are audited so carefully, as they take money out of the public purse.

    What you refer to as a private matter under tax laws would be a hobby. On which there is no income to be declared, and no deductible expenses allowed either.

    If the Bulls were running this as a private hobby, then a thorough audit of their tax returns would be called for by the authorities to review all expenses claimed.

  124. Webmaster:

    Randal Oulton, good point…

  125. Alison:

    I’m a lesbian in a 21-year totally committed and devoted (and now “civil”) partnership, which has the significance for us that marriage has for heterosexual couples – or used to have, before subsequent divorce became the norm. We are both agnostics who were brought up well as Christians and regret that we are no longer convinced Christians.

    We would never abuse the welcome of guest house owners who have openly and honestly stated their requirements regarding the occupancy of their double rooms. I think the level of gay militancy we see these days is deeply regrettable, and I hope this will die down over time. I just wish lesbians and gays in general could be a little less shrill about their demands and rather more considerate of their fellow humans; we should all be grateful for the acceptance of society in general and the reduced levels of hostility towards us.

    I wish the Bulls well, and hope the case will be resolved in their favour. What a beautiful location for a guest house!

  126. Simian:

    Really Alison?
    Has it not occured to you that it is these ‘militants’who have fought for your freedom to call yours a civil partnership, and for you to live without fear of discrimination? Without fear of being subjected to random mental or physical bullying simply becasue of your sexuality?
    Can you not see that whilst one can sympathise on one level with the Bulls, on another level they are a part of the continuing undercurrent of prejudice against people like you?

  127. Goy:

    @Alison,

    Divide and conquer Simian’s higher principal utopian monkey business.

  128. Tom:

    I have just come across an interesting piece by a straight journalist who went undercover on one of those ex-gay weekends that claim to turn gay men straight. Whatever you think of Wayne Besen – has he an axe to grind or has NARTH? – this is instructive because Ted Cox is heterosexual. He was interested in finding out what went on and whether there was any success. Worth a read.

    “What Happened When I Went Undercover at a Christian Gay-to-Straight Conversion Camp” by Ted Cox, Stinque, posted on April 22, 2010, printed on December 19, 2010
    http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/146557

  129. Alison:

    The civil partnership makes no difference to how we are treated – we still have constant damage to our house and garden by local homophobes. But no, I do not blame the Bulls. They did not go public with any hostile or negative remarks, just made a simple request to potential guests.

  130. Simian:

    Given what you have just written, how can you still not get it Alison?? Your attitude is really hard to believe!
    Can you really not see the connection between the attitude towards homosexuality as sinful by ‘respectable members of society’ and the antisocial behaviour of homophobes?
    So long as we allow people just like the Bulls to adopt their discriminatory attitudes, we will experience that unwelcome distant byproduct – homophobia.

  131. Neutral:

    I can’t believe the comments in some of the postings. Mainly Jill.

    This couple say they can’t condone this activity in their home. I quite respect that, in fact I entirely agree with it. You have total control, within the law, of what goes on within your home.

    but the minute you turn you home into a business, it is no longer you home. And you must ahdere to the law of the land in order to profit (or not) from it!

    I find it disgusting that this view is being supported by so many! They should be closed down, or forced to comply with the law, that all good businesses do.

    I pray that the law sees that they are totally in the wrong and throw the book at them. One less homophobic business is all to the good.

    And, to say ‘they were told so they haven’t a leg to stand on’ is like saying ‘I’ll kill you if you come in here’. Killing osmoen is still wrong, and denying someone based on their completely legal status (be that gender, race, religion, sexual practies etc) is completely wrong.

    Why there needs to be a court case here is beyond me. It is as clear as black and white. They broke, and are breaking the law. They should be sued fully.

  132. Neutral:

    Oh, and just noticed this:

    “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.”

    That makes me mad as .. well something you might not like published. Why should they ‘have’ to mention it?

    All smacks of NIMBY and Animal Farm to me!

  133. Neutral:

    (and agreed with Oulton, if this hotel is a hobby, then it’s not a business, and this is entirely different and I would then support the couple running the ‘hotel’ – however I suspect this isn’t the case, anyone know?)

  134. Neutral:

    @Alison, agree with Simian. It’s like they have a sign up saying ‘No Blacks’ or ‘No Muslims’. it is no difference at all. And this society would not allow that anymore.

  135. Sophie:

    @ Alison: I am curious as to whether you feel owners of B&Bs should be able to ban any group of which they disapprove, be it black people, Irish or Hindus? Or is just sexuality that you feel is an OK area for discrimination?

    In your post you wrote: “I just wish lesbians and gays in general could be a little less shrill about their demands and rather more considerate of their fellow humans; we should all be grateful for the acceptance of society in general and the reduced levels of hostility towards us.”

    In your second you wrote, our “civil partnership makes no difference to how we are treated – we still have constant damage to our house and garden by local homophobes.”

    You’re suffering serious bullying and harassment but seem to be saying that, as you can’t stop it, you feel gay people should keep their heads down to stop things getting worse.

    I can’t imagine how threatened and distressed you must feel, but the immediate analogy that springs to mind is the collaborative French government in WW2, which co-operated with the Nazis out of fear. They disapproved of the Resistance just as you disapprove of activists. Their view was that resistance only provoked the other side and made matters worse.

    But homegrown homophobes aren’t an occupying army. Surely the more gay people who confront discrimination, and the more straight people who won’t allow it, the sooner decent values will prevail?

    Outspoken support from straight people is really important – it works with racism. As a white woman, I always speak up if someone tells racist jokes. People who think racism’s fine really don’t know how to deal with it if you politely tell them you won’t put up with racist talk. If nothing else, it makes them think twice before doing it again. If casual racism in conversation stops being OK, it starts to erode the groupthink that makes racism a cosy club.

    I’m sure that every little helps, from this case against the Bulls to my neighbour who, unasked, went and painted over the threats on the fence of the gay bar garden. If I lived near you there’d be three of us to defend you, if no one else (my teenage sons share my aversion to bullies.)

  136. Nicole:

    I have been following these comments for a few days now and I cannot believe some of the comments that are being left here. First of all I am gay, and perhaps not surprisingly, an atheist. As far as I was aware I have no hidden ‘agenda’.
    Life can be hard enough without people discriminating against others, what happened to the christian belief that we were all equal under the eyes of god?
    I don’t know the reason for me being gay, but I do know that it is not a choice, it is a part of who I am, just as I have dark hair or a person might have dark skin.
    I don’t understand the concern homosexual people or the discussion of homosexuality could influence children one way or another, either they are or they aren’t, but perhaps talking about it might make it easer for some that are. make it feel like there is someone for them to talk to and perhaps, in some cases, prevent suicides like we have been seeing over the past year. sexuality it not something that can be changed and trying to do so is sick.
    I also dont understand why people link homosexuals with paedophiles? why? how? (does this make all the catholic priests gay? and are they still going to be let into the kingdom of heaven?… and who are we to judge if they are or not.)
    I dont understand how allowing gay marriage will affect ‘the family’ surely it will just allow more people to have a family.. whatever there definition of this is. Personally I wouldn’t want a marriage due to its relationship with the church, but the option should be there for those that do. Homosexuals are people too!! and should be given all the rights (not more just equal) that every person has.
    Sexuality is such a small part of who I am, I am who I am, and a part of that is being gay.
    I am also ‘out’ but that doesn’t mean that every new person I meet I tell, its such a strange thing to do and it shouldn’t matter, heterosexuals don’t wander around saying there straight!
    What this BnB has done/is doing is disgusting and wrong and its about time that someone called them up on it! is is completely the same as saying ‘no blacks’ and ‘no muslims’ and Jill frankly your dog argument is laughable. There is no law stating that you must allow dogs, but thanks for casting me in with the mutts, I am a PERSON not an animal.
    Also Jill, I am curious to know what your response would be if one of your children turned out to be gay. Would you support them? or would they end up feeling outcast, different, guilty.. or perhaps like my good friend, whos family are religious, felt that he couldnt tell them. wrote a note one night and left home. He didnt go back for two years, and then they didnt want to know him. THERE OWN CHILD! because of something so small.
    Life can be hard enough for anybody, why waste energy worrying about what someone elce is doing. For Jill I guess what I am saying is let He who is without sin cast the first stone and don’t be such a hypocrite.
    Just get on with your own life, lead your definition of a good life and let others do the same. when someone breaks the law, let them be taken to court and tried, when someone doesn’t just let them be!
    The world is full of weird and wonderful people. how dull it would be if we were all the same!

  137. Sophie:

    You write: “Life can be hard enough without people discriminating against others, what happened to the christian belief that we were all equal under the eyes of god?”

    You’re right about the Christian message. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    I read this as a call to arms as well as a message of sharing and love. Christians who use religion as a weapon against women, black or gay people have completely misunderstood what’s required.

    The few verses in the Bible that mention homosexuality do so in the context of temple prostitution or discrete acts. There is nothing to condemn loving couples or domestic partnerships, in fact there are descriptions of deeply loving same sex relationships, and the Bible verses used by homophobes are both more ambiguous and far fewer in number than those used by slavers to justify their trade.

    As you say, “Sexuality is such a small part of who I am, I am who I am, and a part of that is being gay.” You are a human being entitled to equal respect – your sexuality is your own affair. Please believe that not all Christians oppose gay marriage. Gay people should be free to commit and consecrate their lives to each other.

    I too have wondered would happen if one of Jill’s children or grandchildren came out as gay. One hopes she would find it a chastening and enlightening experience.

  138. Sophie:

    @ Nicole: Sorry, I meant my last post for you. And I’ve a link here about Biblical prohibitions that you might find amusing, if you haven’t seen it before.

  139. DanJ0:

    “DanJo, it is brutal and repressive regimes which force people to act against their consciences (or to go out of business). I hope we don’t turn into one of those.”

    Jill, quite possibly you are right. However, the Bulls are not being forced to act against their consciences. The choice is simple (assuming their case fails): do not illegally discriminate in the supply of goods and services, or stop supplying goods and services.

    They want to have their cake and to eat it and I’m afraid that may not be possible. I strongly suggest they tell the Christian Institute to hop it, maintain their personal beliefs as they see fit, and separate their personal lives from their business lives. Everyone’s a winner.

  140. Tom:

    Sophie when you say you wonder what would happen if Jill’s children or grandchildren came out as gay, given what she has said about it on this blog don’t you think she would be the last to be told?

  141. Alison:

    Simian, Neutral, Sophie, Nicole, and Danjo and Tom,

    I’ve taken note of your recent responses to my posts, and gone back to 10th December and surfed (or skimmed) through the whole unfolding debate. I think I’ve finally got it – thanks to you all for persevering.

    You’ve talked a lot of sense, and I realise I was cutting the Bulls more slack than they deserve. Of course it’s morally as well as legally wrong for any business to impose discriminatory restrictions on their clientele.

    To be honest, I was unduly influenced by the wretched night my partner and I spent in an Irish hotel nearly 20 years ago when the room above ours was occupied by a particularly passionate and burly gay couple. (Gay doesn’t seem quite the word). I’m of a generation who grew up with homophobia, and I failed to distinguish the particular from the general in this argument.

    There have been a lot of really good and thoughtful contributions to this thread, and it’ll ensure that in future I will think more about difficult issues before choosing which side I’m on. I can’t see that there’s any more to be said – unless you intend to persevere until Jill gets it too!

    Best wishes to everyone who’s posted, and merry Christmas!

  142. Tom:

    Alison, a very gracious post.

    However, it could be that Jill intends to persevere till we get it….

    Happy Christmas to you.

  143. Neutral:

    Wow, Alison you impress me, and give me a little faith back in human-kind. That’s very big of you to review your position and come to a slightly different, if significant, conlcusion. Respect.

    Incedentally, the reason I’m ‘Nuetral’ is because of two reasons.

    First regards the argument/discussion in hand. I am neutral in that I am not pro Christian, Pro Gay, pro business pro freedom, pro dictatorship. I am just pro ‘following the law’, which I regard as a logical and undeniable thing. Once you agree that they have broken the law (which they clearly have) then you can go on to discuss wether the law should be there to be broken in the first place. That is a much bigger discussion. But to discuss ‘if’ they have broken it is like debating wether or not a rose is a flower.

    Secondly, I have not come out to parents, and as a result have not come out to any of my family. With regard to Jill being the last to know, my parents once asked me, and I denied it (as you do when you’re young) and at that time they said they wished they would not be the last one to hear if I was. I have tried very hard to keep that. Once I finally came to terms with it my self in my mid-twenties I gradually opened out to friends – and relaised I had lost 20 years of my life hiding away, not making social interaction, damaging my career chances and ‘life-partner’ chances in the making. Trust me, if this was a choice, I’d be married with kids and very very happy right now. I wanted that for so many years, but it was just not possible. As much as str8 might be revolted by gay, my inner gay is revolted by the mere thought of a str8 relationship ‘for me’. You can not ‘turn’ someone, if they’re not already there. If society was open and welcoming my life would have been alot different, and my relationship would be a hell of alot different and freer with my family.

    It’s people like Jill, and the Bulls that comdemn people to misery. they might ‘accept’ gay and ‘tolerate’ them. but just imagine if your best friend knew you ‘tolerated’ them, they wouldn’t stay your best friend for long would they. It’s not nice, and makes people hide. It destroys lives, and society. All for the ‘belief’ in a dubious book written centuries ago, translated countless times, and interprited more times than the goverment spin policies. the fact that the Pope has just decided condoms are fine, just smacks of how much the Bible is ‘how can we make it fit’, which questions it’s integrity.

    Anyway I digress … you will find pretty much every gay, poof, queer (urgh hate that word) or whatever you want to call them/us has a simillar story of dealing with it. Some are strong, and run away from home. Some have loving christian families that support them from childhood, and some have … Jill.

  144. Neutral:

    Just re-read opening post and hit on this:

    “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.”

    Adds another element to it. Denying a str8 unmarried couple should be illegal as well I would think. I can’t see any fundamental difference. You’re denying someone access to a business down to their beliefs and entirely legal practices.

  145. DanJ0:

    *salutes Neutral*

    Your paragraph above starting “Secondly* is pretty similar to mine although my parents wouldn’t have taken it very well. I bet a lot of people of a certain age and a certain background could say that. I think many teenagers have it much easier now as Society has changed. I heard today that the average age for coming out now is 15-17 years old. I find that very heartening.

  146. DanJ0:

    “Adds another element to it. Denying a str8 unmarried couple should be illegal as well I would think. I can’t see any fundamental difference. You’re denying someone access to a business down to their beliefs and entirely legal practices”

    There is a difference, I think.

    Unmarried co-habitingcouples are making lifestyle choices and protection for those are difficult and perhaps undesirable to protect by the State through legislation. Sexual orientation, disability, gender, and race are not things one can choose for the most part and discrimination arguably has systematic negative effects. Religious belief is a bit different but it is like ethnicity in that it is often a fundamental part of someone’s identity and irrelevant discrimination arguably has systematic negative effects. But note the irrelevant bit there.

    The law assigns weight to belief systems rather than beliefs or choices. I have had mixed views on this but I have come to the opinion that a belief system usually has systematic effects which make it sensible to do that. So, Article 9 of the HRA requires a certain solidity to religious or philosophical beliefs such that Christianity passes the test but Jedi does not. That the Bulls will probably be using this as part of their defence makes the case interesting and, I think, worthy of seeing in court despite the hassle it is for everyone concerned.

  147. DScott:

    I know this couple and have done since I was a child.

    They would never go out to cause hurt to others purposely.

    For the whole time I have known Hazelmary and Peter, growning up spending my summers in Cornwall with family whilst on trips away from London sometimes at the hotel itself even helping out; they’ve always shown their christian views which I have respected although I do not follow them as they do. They have always treated myself and my family as family of their own and I will never forget their kindness.

    I myself have not stayed at the hotel in recent years as I am not married to my boyfriend yet and I understand their views and stayed at hotels close to Chymorvah which are available at last minute.

    To see them get treated in this manner is horrible and deeply unsetting especially with so many fond memories of my time there.

    The Cornish and Devon area mainly focuses on their hospitallity area, Hazelmary and Peter have gone out of their way with their hotel to try make it a success, these gentleman have ruined everything they have worked towards because their pride has got the better of them and a chip on their shoulder.

    I completely understand peoples views that this is seen as discrimination against these two gentleman but isn’t this the same as discrimminating Hazelmary and Peter’s religious beliefs which they have lived by and clearly state of their website?

    It justs seems they have been purposely targetted.

    I hope Hazelmary and Peter can cope with the strain of this case. This couple claim £5000 in compensation; that is only a fraction of what Hazelmary and Peter stand to lose along with the others that work at the hotel looking to lose their jobs and home, companies who supply goods and earn business from the hotel losing money; in this current economy can be a significant loss. Regular guests possibly about to lose their place which is like home from home.

    Thankfully they have the support of the friends, family & groups behind them.

    I hope this couple are happy with getting their 40 minutes of fame at the expense of other peoples lives and businesses.

  148. Neutral:

    “I completely understand peoples views that this is seen as discrimination against these two gentleman but isn’t this the same as discrimminating Hazelmary and Peter’s religious beliefs which they have lived by and clearly state of their website?”

    Quite simply, no. Why? Because they’re a business. Business has to be undiscriminating in all areas (with some obvious artistic exceptions). It would be discriminating against them if the gay couple owned a business and refused a married couple to stay in a double bed. Now, I’m kind of guessing there would be alot more rejection of that in this country. Gay’s refusing hetero!

    I’m sure they’re lovely people. But, when you’re doing business you have to treat people as equal (and I don’t mean in order to do good business, I mean in order to be legal). What they are doing is isolating this gay couple who are legally joined, and politly ridiculing them because they’re a gay couple. Comes back to my point of tolerating gays. It’s fine to ‘think’ tolerating, but when it comes to effectively stating that you tolerate gays it means you’re snubbing them, and outwardly acknowledging them as wrong (and more). It also should be the case that a gay couple shouldn’t ‘have’ to worry about ‘stating their sexual nature’ when booking a hotel right.

    As the saying goes, gays should have the same rights as str8′s. If a str8 couple get a bed, then a gay couple should get a bed. Anything else is public discrimination and illegal.

    Anyone remeber the saying ‘I’m not racsist, I even have a black friend…’

  149. Neutral:

    “It justs seems they have been purposely targetted.”

    On what basis? Because they booked a room, as partners, in cornwall? And why should they not be able to do that?

    if the report in the Mail on Saturday was accurate, then there was no discussion on the phone (as is ‘usual’) so in that sense it’s their own pit they’ve dug. Plus, you really have to look ‘hard’ on the webiste to find this ‘bit’ about discrimination. And I booked a place down in St Ives in Feb this year. I look at pictures, location and price – and don’t usuallym scruitinise the entire website (especially for something which I shouldn’t have to look for!).

    However, being the curteous gay that I am, I did ask the lady taking the booking if they were ok (note the difference here, ‘I’ gave them a choice, which I didn’t have to do, and if I sense a little objection I’d walk away politely, as I realise that some people find us offensive [lets forget the fact that I find str8 flirting equally as offensive when thrust in your face, but never would I dream of asking ‘then’ to stop).

    This is how ingrained homophobia ‘is’ in our society. That I feel a lesser citizen because I can’t complain when a straight couple are songging beside me un interrupted, and yet when I do it (which I never would, and that in itself in an idication) I’d get a punch or at best a shout to stop being so vile. So when gay couples are refused booked bed and board like this, can’t even you see how it feels on this side of the fence – even law aside?

  150. DanJ0:

    “I hope Hazelmary and Peter can cope with the strain of this case. This couple claim £5000 in compensation; that is only a fraction of what Hazelmary and Peter stand to lose along with the others that work at the hotel looking to lose their jobs and home, companies who supply goods and earn business from the hotel losing money; in this current economy can be a significant loss. Regular guests possibly about to lose their place which is like home from home.”

    If they lose then they could always choose to stop discriminating in the supply of goods and services instead. That way, their religious views are properly limited to their edge of their business, the hotel workers keep their jobs, the hotel suppliers don’t lose their custom, and regular guests still have a place to stay. And let’s face it, the number of gay people wanting to stay is going to be very small, especially if they say they are Christian owners on their website, so this is mostly a matter of principle. Sounds quite simple and easy to me.

  151. DanJ0:

    Also, this is a matter of personal conscience rather than a clear cut issue of religion. As an atheist, I have been struck by how often what god apparently wants amd expects seems to chime almost exactly with what each religious person wants and expects. Yet when one stands back, each religious person seems to want variously different things.

  152. Neutral:

    Yes DanJo … religion seems to be like looking at clouds. Everyone can see what they want out of it and justify it in some part of the bible. And at the same time, parts of the bhible that justify other things they don’t like can be ignored for this reason and that.

    Makes you wonder why people need religion, why they can’t be good upstanding citizens without the supernatural threat of hell over there heads if they do it wrong?

    Anyway, getting off topic now. lol. Sorry!

  153. DanJ0:

    Saw this today too:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12046624

  154. Sophie:

    The Chymorvah booking page currently says:

    “Here at Chymorvah we have few rules, but please note that as Christians we have a deep regard for marriage (being the union of one man to one woman for life to the exclusion of all others).

    Therefore, although we extend to all a warm welcome to our home, our double bedded accommodation is not available to unmarried couples – Thank you.”

    However web archives show that the wording was originally:

    “Here at Chymorvah we have few rules, but please note, that out of a deep regard for marriage we prefer to let double accommodation to heterosexual married couples only – thank you.”

    Presumably the wording was changed on legal advice, though I don’t think this step will make a lot of difference to the outcome, which I await with interest.

    From what’s been said in court so far it seems no one told the man making a phone booking about the “married heterosexual couples only” policy. That, together with the review from Dorothy, who stayed at the B&B in 2006, strongly suggest that the Bulls’ rules are about excluding gay couples rather than refusing rooms to straight unmarried ones.

  155. Sophie:

    @ Alison and Tom: Tom wrote: “Alison, a very gracious post.

    However, it could be that Jill intends to persevere till we get it…

    Happy Christmas to you.”

    Which is pretty much exactly what I wanted to say, so I’m just adding a “me too.”

  156. Sophie:

    @ DScott: Peter and Hazelmary Bull may be sweet to you, but there’s no rule that says prejudiced people can’t be charming. You write: “I myself have not stayed at the hotel in recent years as I am not married to my boyfriend yet and I understand their views.”

    Has it not occurred to you how different your relationship with the Bulls would be were you gay? When you marry you’ll be welcome at Chymorvah. Were you in a civil partnership you could never go back… And would you feel as sentimental and eager to leap to their defence if they refused Hindu or Muslim guests on a religious basis? Plenty of Christians in the US use faith to justify racism. Would that be OK?

    We all choose not to engage in things of which we disapprove. A Jew probably wouldn’t take a job in a bacon factory. Deciding not to enter an occupation that conflicts with your beliefs isn’t religious persecution. It’s normal.

    Running a B&B is taxing. You have to comply with umpteen regulations, from fire, health & safety, VAT, etc… Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation became illegal in 2007 and applies to anyone supplying services. The Bulls will have known this just as they will have known all the other relevant regulations in force at the time.

    Checking out http://www.chymorvah.co.uk via the web archive is informative. There was nothing about marriage or heterosexuality on the Bulls’ booking page in 2003. The archive evidence suggests that the Bulls added wording about heterosexual marriage to their website when the law came into force in 2007. It seems they knew exactly what the new law meant, and were determined to get round it. I imagine the gay couple’s lawyers will refer to these archives.

    Their supporters try to win sympathy by stressing the Bulls’ advanced age and that Chymorvah is their home. But it’s not just a home: they live in their business premises, which has numerous tax advantages, and this is why this law applies to them.

    Anyone who considers running a hotel suitable for a dear old couple to do in their retirement must have a very romantic view of what hotel work is like. The hotel & catering industry is extremely demanding. These guys are not innocents, babes in the wood. They are business people. They appear to have decided when the law came in that they would not comply with it. They took a calculated risk but their bluff was called and they are facing the consequences.

  157. DanJ0:

    “Here at Chymorvah we have few rules, but please note, that out of a deep regard for marriage we prefer to let double accommodation to heterosexual married couples only – thank you.”

    :O

    Busted! :)

  158. Webmaster:

    Hmm, nice bit of investigative work there Sophie…

  159. Neutral:

    Very agreeable post there Sophie. Well said. (I hope the lawyers ‘do’ as much work as you do!).

    @ DanJo. Like the link. And appologies on going another wee detour (sorry WM) I tend to agree with parts.

    Civil Partnerships should be applicable to both str8 and gay. And they should carry every much weight as a Christian Marriage ‘legally’.

    Now it all boils down, to me, as to the meaning of ‘marriage’. Is that word exclusive property of the Christian Church, or any church/religion? If it is, then it is quite right that if Gay marriage is no to be condoned by religion, that gay marriage should not be possible. However, I think many parts of the church now recognise gay people, and that they might wish to live together (what else would they do). And that they might even recognise gay union / marriage. If that is so, then exlusivity of the term by one part of religion that doesn’t condone it will create a mess for the part that does.

    CP should be there for non-religious people. But, aha! Don’t we have a registry office? Isn’t that supposed to exclude religion from the union of two people? If ‘that’ is called a marriage, and religion has nothing to do with it, then I 100% think that Marriage should be for gay and straight or whatever else wishes to get married.

  160. DanJ0:

    Marriage is essentially a legal thing and a social institution. Religious marriage is a version of that, combining the religious aspects with the legal bit in the form of the marriage licence. Marriage is also available in a Register Office without formal religious elements or with informal religious elements for those who want it. This has to be the case as Article 9 prevents the State from coercing people into a religion and making people have a religious wedding does essentially that, I’d argue.

    Changing the top level to include same-sex couples does not necessarily mean religious marriages must be available to same-sex couples too. The State should not be interfering in internal religious doctrine when it does not affect wider society or intrude on fundamental rights. By the same token, religions should not be trying to impose religious restrictions on what the non-religious do in wider society. Yes, they can make non-religious arguments like anyone else but we have, and should have, no obligation to listen to the religious stuff.

  161. Neutral:

    Well, if that is the case, Marriage should be available to all – and begs the question why Civil Partnerships are required as they should be all the same, but for a name difference.

  162. DanJ0:

    As an aside, why am I reading the hotel name as Chlamydia Hotel when I glance over it each time? :O

  163. Goy:

    @DanJ0,

    “The State should not be interfering in internal religious doctrine when it does not affect wider society or intrude on fundamental rights.”

    But what you are demanding of the State is to interfere in matters of conscience there may come a time when the power you have invested in the State may not be so friendly and the power you have ceded will be turned on you.

  164. DanJ0:

    “But what you are demanding of the State is to interfere in matters of conscience there may come a time when the power you have invested in the State may not be so friendly and the power you have ceded will be turned on you.”

    That’s not true. If these people have a warped conscience then so be it. They are not being forced to do something, they’re being forced not to do something. Do you see the difference?

    The state might not be so friendly? We’re were put in jail 40-50 years ago for homosexual relations between consenting adults in private. People had to wait until 21 before acting on their sexual orientation more recently. The State tried to stop schools informing children that being gay is acceptable and value-free. We were excluded from our partner’s bedside during medical emergencies and denied the legal protections spouses had over assets and contracts until very recently. And obviously further back, we were murdered by the state when it was run by Christians for being gay. Heck, there are States around the world today who would kill us simply for being gay. I tell you now, we know what it’s like to be persecuted and we’re not inclined to put up with the tail end of all that even if this couple are otherwise nice people.

  165. Neutral:

    To add to DanJo, as it can be read that they ‘are being forced to allow gay under their roof’. Which is true … however, they are not being forced into running a business, and that’s where the buck stops. They choose to run a business. Laws change all the time (else women wouldn’t have the vote, amongst many other things) and you then choose to pull out, or change and survive. So they are not being forced to do anything, they are being forced to not do something offensive.

  166. Sophie:

    I’m off – train tomorrow to the West Country – 14 for Christmas in the country. It’ll be lovely, as long as we don’t get snowed in…

    I may look in over the next week using my Dad’s PC. If not, I wish a Merry Christmas to everyone – whatever the festival means to you.

    xxx

  167. Goy:

    @DanJ0,

    Reads like you are seeking vengeance in this case rather than justice.

  168. Neutral:

    @ Goy: … no he was saying in return to your comment of “beware of the law coming back to bit ‘you’ in return”, taht, actually, there’s not alot more that ‘can’ be done, so we’re not afraid of the law turning on us. lol. Our kind have been through persecution almost since mankind began.

    But now it’s time to level the playing field, and that you call it vengance just shows how much work needs to be done.

    Plus, I think I speak for everyone here, and I’m sure we all strive for Justice.

  169. DanJ0:

    “Reads like you are seeking vengeance in this case rather than justice.”

    If you wish to read it like that then that’s up to you. As I’ve said before, we wouldn’t tolerate signs saying “No Blacks, No Irish, No dogs” in a B&B window and so why should we tolerate this? Many Brits don’t like to make a fuss as a matter of culture but rights need to be exercised for them to become and remain alive.

    On a personal level, I feel a bit sorry for the Bulls with their anachronistic views as this situation is not a big thing on its own. But of course, there’s more to this case than just the local pushing of boundaries. Stonewall are making sure these rights bed in well and some Christians are exercising their notion of being victims.

    I expect as time goes on, the overwhelming majority of Christians will adjust to the new zeitgeist. I suppose it feels a bit scary moving to being a minority special interest group in the UK, especially as Muslims seem to be given an easier ride by the State as our culture shifts to accomodates them. It’ll all be okay in the end, I expect. Especially if we dis-establish the State as I hope will happen.

  170. Simian:

    It may be relevant to this discussion that in the 2003 British Social Attitudes survey only 12% thought ‘Gayness’ was wholly or mostly to do with upbringing or lifestyle rather than genes. 11% thought a mix of the two. The rest thought it mainly or all due to genes except for 21% who dd not knows. The %ages had changed very little from the time the question had previously been asked in 1998. This does not suggest an effective ‘Gay plot’ to subvert people’s views about the causes of homosexuality, and implies that the majority would not think it fair to discriminate against Gays/Lesbians, because they do not choose to be Gay/Lesbian. They just are.

  171. Goy:

    @Neutral,

    That level playing field is built on a deceptive gradient, be nice to people on the way up because you’ll meet them on the way down.

  172. Randal Oulton:

    Well leaving all gay / religion questions aside….

    And just thinking biz wise…. if they have thought about this, this is not a case they want to win, that of proving that the hotel is their private home instead of a hotel business …. would you want to prove that, in public, in national newspapers that tax auditors read? Bottom line wise, be cheaper for them to pay the 5,000 pound fine (that’s the number I think I’ve heard bandied about), than face years of disallowed business expenses going way back, with penalty and interest compounded on all the tax therefore due… ugh.

    And, I think they are more likely to be able to get people to chip in to help them pay their 5,000 fine, than they would be able to stir up interest in getting people to help pay back taxes, penalty and interest…. that doesn’t make the most rousing fundraising call, does it?

    So money wise, they can’t win on this, so they need to think in a way that will cut their losses. Facing the fine seems best, rather than having tax returns from way back re-opened.

  173. DanJ0:

    “That level playing field is built on a deceptive gradient, be nice to people on the way up because you’ll meet them on the way down.”

    Doom, gloom, dire warnings, world’s going to end, etc because a couple with anachronistic views may be forced to stop discriminating in business by a reasonable law in a multicultural society. This should be filed with Jill’s dire warning about how Muslims will treat us all when they’re eventually ‘in charge’ in the UK.

    In all likelihood, most Christians will live and let live in the UK by promoting a Christian lifestyle within their own religious communities while living happily along side non-Christians and sharing the public and business space. And why not? Afterall, Jesus apparently said to pay your taxes and so on as that was the stuff of Caesar. Jewish people also seem to recognise this principle very well with ‘dina d’malchuta dina’.

  174. Neutral:

    @ Goy. Even if your ‘near’ threat was valid, it rubs both ways … Had society been nice to us on the way up and while they were up, you could be justified in that argument having any ground to stand on. As it is, it’s just a nasty swipe at gays who are seeking justice and equality.

    As it is your statement is not valid. Nothing we’re arguing here is nasty. It’s equalilty. Since when has that been not nice?

    And re the fine, yes, sadly the idea of a fine (to punish) will have no impact here as most likely someione will come and save their bacon, thinking that they’re being kind. But in truth, all it will do is make it harder for the couple to realise the gravity of their mistake.

  175. Neutral:

    And to all, a Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!

    I’m one of that group of of people who use that rare word to define themselves: Agnostic. While I don’t believe in a paper document written by man, for man, over 1,000 yrs ago, I do believe in some force out there that guides us at some level. Wether that be what we usually refer to as Mother Nature, or a sentient being like a Deity I do not know – nor probably will ever know (until it’s too late most likely).

    One thing I do believe though, is that a Man that is now referred to as Jesus did exist and was a great leader of people. How, and why, and what he did – will forever be an open question for me. His impact regardless has had much impact for the good in this world, which I hope outways the bad it has also generated and been used for.

  176. Neutral:

    … and that’s a good a reason as any to celebrate with family at this time of the year, and reflect on the past years deeds. :-)

  177. Stevie.:

    When these men booked their room it seems they booked over the telephone. The Bulls policy regarding double accommodation is shown nowhere on their website other than the booking page, which the men probably would not have seen unless booking online. So why if the Bulls feel so strongly about this policy is it not posted clearly on all pages of their site. I would suggest it is because if they didn’t accept unmarried hetrosexual couples their hotel would be alot less busy. This clause I believe is only there to excuse them refusing same sex couples. If they could demonstrate how and when they have refused unmarried couples in the past this would help their case, or even if they could show how they comfirm their guests are married.
    If the Bulls are committed christians then why do they work in their hoten on the sabbath. They obviously wish to choose which sins they dislike the most. These two men are in a civil partnership which is as close to a marriage that the law will allow them so it is not really their fault they cannot marry. The law is quite clear, it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender etc, so if the bulls don’t like it they are in the wrong bussiness. I am a hotelier myself and my gay guests in general give my much less hassle than others.

  178. Cosmo:

    Equality rightly wins:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-12214368

  179. Jill:

    Equality? You call that equality?

    I think the right decision has been made here by the judge. He can only interpret the law as it currently stands, but he has rightly pointed out that the law stinks, when immorality trumps morality.

    http://www.christian.org.uk/news/judge-rules-against-christians-in-bb-case-but-allows-appeal/

    I hope they will appeal, because there is a lot more at stake here than a small B&B in Cornwall. The whole future of the Church of England as the established church is at stake, because the Church’s position on marriage is now in direct contradiction to the state’s.

    Mr Bull is having a triple bypass op today, so prayers need for him and his wife Hazelmary at this very stressful time.

  180. Cosmo:

    Jill,

    Indeed it is a stressful time for them and wish him a speedy recovery.

    I’m struggling to find the words where the judge said that “the law stinks”.

    He has highlighted that it raises questions, and allowed the right to appeal – but I think, on balance, you’ll find that the majority of cases that have the potential to set a precedent are allowed to right to appeal.

    Further, you assertion that, “The whole future of the Church of England as the established church is at stake, because the Church’s position on marriage is now in direct contradiction to the state’s.” is a little melodramatic…

  181. Phoebs:

    The whole future of the Church of England as the established church is at stake, because the Church’s position on marriage is now in direct contradiction to the state’s.”

    Hi Jill, could you expound on this.
    The sacrament of Holy Matrimony and civil marriage are completely different.

  182. Jill:

    I have had two attempts to post a reply but it keeps getting spat out. I am trying to set out the contents of Lambeth 1:10, (the C of E’s position, along with the rest of the Anglican Communion, and the rest of Christendom, actually) on huuman sexuality) but I will try to just post the link:

    http://www.lambethconference.org/resolutions/1998/1998-1-10.cfm

    This case has set the law as it stands on a direct collision course with the established church.

    We have to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but what we are now being made to do (unless we give up our faith) is render unto Caesar that which is God’s.

  183. Sophie:

    Much as expected. Small cheer.

    Mind you, I think the Bulls got off lightly. As Randal Oulton posted on 23rd December, they would have liked it even less if the court had decided it was their own home… They’d have had to repay all the tax gains made from living in the hotel.

  184. Sophie:

    @ Jill: “We have to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but what we are now being made to do (unless we give up our faith) is render unto Caesar that which is God’s.”

    I think you’ll find that’s not the case. Had the Bulls refused to entertain gay couples privately, there’s no law to stop them. I don’t have to allow anyone to sleep in my house, and nor do they. Their error was to behave as if commercial premises for which charges are made was a private house, something they, their accountant, and numerous government departments knew was quite wrong. Had they rendered unto Caesar that which was Caesar’s (i.e. observed the law in the public domain that was their hotel) they wouldn’t have come unstuck.

  185. Webmaster:

    The full judgement can be read here.

  186. Goy:

    Those Judaeo-Christian principles, standards and beliefs which were accepted as normal in times past are no longer so accepted.

    Who gave him the authority to make this change of constitution and sovereign judgement, is the Queen still the Queen?

  187. Randal Oulton:

    @ Goy: Who gave him the authority to make this change of constitution and sovereign judgement, is the Queen still the Queen?

    Sigh. As with elsewhere in the British Commonwealth, the Queen reigns but does not govern. Governments exercise power, but do not hold it. Outlined in 1867 by Walter Bagehot in “The English Constitution.” You can consult an online copy here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4351

  188. Justin:

    Dear All –

    I’ve just spent half an hour reading the debate here and commend everyone for the quality of research and argument.

    I’m delighted by the ruling. It gives me the confidence to plan UK holidays with my partner without feeling I ought to screen all the accommodation for gay-friendliness first.

    The Bulls will, I’m sure, be inundated by bookings from upstanding Christian folk and see their business thrive. They certainly couldn’t buy this sort of publicity.

    It’s tempting to turn up with a bunch of gay friends and book up all the single beds anyway to see whether the married / unmarried issue really is what they object to… We’re all very nice but probably not that childish. There are lots of nice places to stay in Cornwall.

  189. Goy:

    @Randal Oulton,

    The point is this judge single handedly in a court of law has wiped Judaeo-Christian principles from not only the history books but the statute books, constitutionaly (though no expert) the words of this judgment must have serious ramifications. In my opinion he basically blew up the foudations of his own court taken the whole of the British State with it.

    3. Why are those statues there? Perhaps there were many reasons for them but I venture to suggest that one was to emphasise the Judaeo-Christian roots from which the common law of England was derived.

    4. A great deal has however happened since King Alfred and his Saxon laws, and even more has changed since Moses, King Solomon and Jesus Christ walked upon this earth. Those Judaeo-Christian principles, standards and beliefs which were accepted as normal in times past are no longer so accepted. Things have radically changed since the days of Queen Victoria or even, for that matter, since the days of her grandson King George V.

  190. Justin:

    Oh and can I add that I love the name Hazelmary.

  191. Randal Oulton:

    @goy: In my opinion he basically blew up the foudations of his own court taken the whole of the British State with it.

    I think you are overdramatizing in the heat of the moment and need to put everything in historical perspective. Surely a bigger impact was caused when Henry 8th rebelled against Church laws? When Catholics were allowed to hold public office? When divorce was legalized? When women were allowed to vote?

  192. Jill:

    Have a nice holiday, Justin!

    I suppose I could round up all my Christian friends and demand admittance at a gay B&B somewhere … but that would be rather silly and childish, wouldn’t it?

  193. Justin:

    @Jill, you could, and you wouldn’t be turned away. You might meet some nice people.

  194. Randal Oulton:

    @ Jill: I suppose I could round up all my Christian friends and demand admittance at a gay B&B somewhere … but that would be rather silly and childish, wouldn’t it?

    Or, try a Muslim B & B. Though that wouldn’t really be a good test — leaving aside certain present-day extremists in Pakistan, Muslim business people have traditionally been welcoming to Christians including hospitality at home. You could not with a straight face claim that the same was historically true about Christians vis-a-vis Muslims.

  195. DanJ0:

    I think the judge has done a beautiful job of interpreting the law and balancing the various rights and interests, whilst recognising and respecting the positions of the two parties involved.

    It’s a pity the Christian Institute continues to promote the idea that Christians in the UK are being victimised and encourage people to feel that way. The fact is, as Mike Judge from CI says, Christianity is being sidelined but that is happening from its legacy position of privilege so it is a reasonable thing to do given that Christianity is now a minority interest in the UK. Christians still have solid rights in law to their beliefs and practice, as do the followers of other religions, and that is a good thing. As a gay man, I don’t want that to be taken away by any means.

    It should be interesting if the couple decide to pursue the case in the High Court. I’m not sure how much precedent a County Court sets, if any, but a High Court judgement against them too will surely focus the issue and cement the equality law rather nicely.

  196. Phoebs:

    @Randal

    I would like to combine both your and Jill’s suggestion.
    As I wonder as to the hospitality a homosexual couple (wanting to sleep in the same bed) would receive in a Muslim B&B.

    I do wonder if Stonewall has considered that one?

  197. DanJ0:

    “I suppose I could round up all my Christian friends and demand admittance at a gay B&B somewhere … but that would be rather silly and childish, wouldn’t it?”

    Do you believe you’d be refused?

    The case has cultural importance and bringing it is not at all silly and childish, if that is what you are implying. Laws should be living things, and testing them with hard cases is completely reasonable.

    One of the positives in this case is that the judge seems happy to affirm civil partnerships as essentially equivalent to marriage in law. Of course, I’d rather civil partnerships were superceded by gay marriage but the principle here is encouraging.

  198. Randal Oulton:

    @ Phoebs: I would like to combine both your and Jill’s suggestion. As I wonder as to the hospitality a homosexual couple (wanting to sleep in the same bed) would receive in a Muslim B&B. I do wonder if Stonewall has considered that one?

    Dunno if Stonewall has. But the judge in this case did. The law is the law.

  199. DanJ0:

    Goy: “Things have radically changed since the days of Queen Victoria or even, for that matter, since the days of her grandson King George V.”

    Indeed. For instance, women now have equality in law and an equal vote in our democracy. Progress, in other words.

  200. Justin:

    @Phoebs, Randal and Jill

    I’ve checked into double-bedded rooms in many hotels in many countries with my male partner, and have never ever been turned away. Believe it or not, there are same-sex couples all over the world.

    In Iran, I was travelling with a female friend to whom I was not married and the main problem we had was convincing hotel owners that we really wanted separate rooms.

    As long as you’re pleasant and pay the bill most people really don’t care.

  201. Randal Oulton:

    @ Goy: The point is this judge single handedly in a court of law has wiped Judaeo-Christian principles from not only the history books but the statute books,

    It just occurred to me, though this is way off topic, and would be the subject of a separate debate — but I think British law is *actually* far more based on Roman law and principles, with Anglo-Saxon custom stirred in, than on Judaeo-Christian principles. I mean, if we peeled all the layers off and went right back. (Of course, then do you go back to the Etruscans? The Greeks? lol. That’s why I say, that would totally be a separate thread!!!) But I think there is a case to say the foundation is actually Roman law.

  202. DanJ0:

    I’m tempted to write to the Bulls and the Christian Institute to encourage them to take the case to the High Court. :)

  203. Justin:

    DanJo I think that’s a good idea. Lock it down.

    Though I have to say it would all have been a lot easier if we didn’t have CPs and marriage law had simply been amended to include gays. We might have had to wait a bit longer, but we would have got there.

  204. Cabal:

    Ah, I see the “But Muslims are so much worse!!!!1″ fallacy has arrived right on cue….

  205. Neutral:

    @ Cabal: yes, but look who said it. the Christians! Or rather the straight christian. Gay christians (and yes there are many) might not be so agreeable on that view. I certainly know that Muslims are just as welcoming, if not more so, than many British when crossing cultures.

    Have to say,a victory for the law has been held here. It was the only correct outcome.

    I have also since discovered that a Marriage is not exclsuivly christian, so it’s not Christainity v the State at all, and Marriages should not discriminate against Gay. Including the church in my opinion, but if they don’t want us, I’mj more than happy to not want them either so it really makes no odds. :-)

  206. Sue Dee:

    Just seen the news and I am gutted. Whatever my beliefs you stood up for yours…as you should. The world would be a much better place if everyone stood up for what they believed. My thoughts will always be with you. Love you

  207. Cabal:

    Don’t feel too downhearted Sue – the victory in this case was awarded to two people who were standing up for their beliefs anyway.

  208. Randal Oulton:

    Well, if nothing else, this case is a mark of affluence and progress…

    Because up until a few hundred years ago, inns would toss all men into a few common beds up in the loft for the night, leaving them to battle in bed with their elbows for space! Women went off to a separate common room. Only the very wealthy singles or married couples could afford a separate room, and that was only if the Inn in question had one on offer. Our ancestors would have looked at you with a blank stare if you said “only one man to a room!”

    So Goy, there’s one way your Judaeo-Christian principles have changed, quite recently even in historical terms … Those Judaeo-Christian principles are being used now to condemn what Judaeo-Christian principles wouldn’t have given a second’s thought not oh so long ago. Ironic, eh?

  209. jill:

    Right – Shan’t spout as much as all the brain-dead idiots, Gays r Gays,I would NOT like them in my home – they all need shooting and used 2 fill up holes in the roads!! If I were in a B & B and two dirty little buggers came down 2 breakfast in my presence I would certainly not use that establishment again. Let people have who they want in their hotels, after all, it is their home as well and probably have a young family in their presence!! Would U want ur small children seeing 2 dirty old queers doing their stuff!!

  210. Mr Bungle:

    So the ruling has gone in favour of the gay couple. No surprise there. They are civil partners, or as ‘married’ as the laws of this country permit. This rather torpedoes the Bull’s case, because if they protest that marriage must be a purely heterosexual affair, their obvious prejudice will be exposed. Are we seriously expected to believe that the Bulls checked the marriage licenses of ALL their heterosexual guests? I doubt it.

    I appreciate that it is difficult for ‘private’ hoteliers to separate their beliefs as resident owners from their obligation as business owners, but that is what the law requires.

    The case is IMO, a victory for common sense and the rule of law as applied to ALL. I very much doubt that an appeal will be launched and doubt even more that such a course could succeed.

    The couple in question are part of a committed, supportive and apparently loving relationship. Thank God for such a state of affairs.

    Fundamentalist zealots may well find passages in the Bible which proscribe homosexuality. I seem to remember reading that ‘God is Love’ and also something about ‘he without sin casting the first stone.’

  211. DanJ0:

    I see the judge has quoted something which says: “The general law may of course protect a particular social or moral position which is espoused by Christianity, not because of its religious imprimatur, but on the footing that in reason its merits commend themselves.”

    That’s it in a nutshell. Our common law may well be the legacy of the ancient religious history of this country but statute law and legal arguments are made according to reason rather than religion. We’re not a theocracy here. Moreover the overwhelming majority of us do not practice any religion. We want laws and ethics which are relevant and meaningful to our lives.

    I don’t want to live in a country where (say) women must cover their heads or faces because a religious leader might or might not have wanted that to be the case according to historical records. I don’t want to live in a country where 60 million of us cannot choose to use contraception because 1 million follow a religion which thinks that their god owns the act of procreation. No, if it cannot be reasoned by the majority based on real life experiences and social goods then it has no place in our law.

  212. DanJ0:

    Don’t feed the trolls. :)

  213. Simian:

    I’m assuming jill is not the same person as Jill? Could jill or Jill confirm?

  214. Randal Oulton:

    @ jill Says: Gays r Gays,I would NOT like them in my home – they all need shooting and used 2 fill up holes in the roads!!

    Jill, you clearly feel relaxed enough to drop finally all the religious stuff about Lambeth this and decent Christian that.

    Now, I believe the moderators will find, when the police come knocking for your IP address to help your ISP assist them with their inquiries, that inciting murder against an identifiable targetted group has *long* been established as a criminal offence.

  215. Cabal:

    Amateurish trolling, “jill” – 3/10.

  216. webmaster:

    Just for clarification, the comment above by Jill was not made by my regular commentator Jill.

  217. Neutral:

    @webmaster grats for confirming.

    * dammit, was so ramped up for a fight! lol ;-) *

  218. Goy:

    @Randal Oulton,

    “So Goy, there’s one way your Judaeo-Christian principles have changed, quite recently even in historical terms … Those Judaeo-Christian principles are being used now to condemn what Judaeo-Christian principles wouldn’t have given a second’s thought not oh so long ago. Ironic, eh?”

    You snipe at me unjustly, generally speaking I really do not care who sleeps with whom in whoeveres guest house or not.

    I do care that this judge has acted beyond his powers and unconstitutionally in the deliberation of his judgement concerning the disregard of the Judaeo-Christian principles that the UK is constituted on, what replaces those principles discordianism, totalatarianism or maybe sharia law.

    Ironically the historical oppression of homosexuals and women in christianity may have more to do with malpracticing christians having a copy of the quran on the top shelf, the influence of islam on Western thinking is not a modern phenomenon.

  219. steve.:

    EVERYONE TO THERE OWN, BUT IT SHOULD BE UP TO THE OWNERS HOW THEY RUN THERE HOTELS AND B&BS AND WHO STAY THERE!! THAT JUDGE WAS WELL OUT OF ORDER , YOU STAND BY YOUR RULES, SOD WHAT PEOPLE SAY OR THINK, WHATS THIS COUNTRY COMING TO??KEEP BEING TOLD HOW TO LIVE ETC!!!!

  220. Randal Oulton:

    @ Goy:

    Not a snipe at all!

    Was saying, like how Judaeo-Christian principles in regards to inns seems to have changed, is all!

    You may have missed me earlier questioning whether it is perhaps more accurate to point to Roman law as a base for British law than Judaeo-Christian principles.

  221. DanJ0:

    “I do care that this judge has acted beyond his powers and unconstitutionally in the deliberation of his judgement concerning the disregard of the Judaeo-Christian principles that the UK is constituted on, what replaces those principles discordianism, totalatarianism or maybe sharia law.”

    I don’t what your concern is. We have a whole body of common law based on precedent and that still exists. We have a body of statute law too based, I expect, on the demands of secular regulation. Our constitution is largely unwritten and this allows some welcome flexibility.

    In the past, local courts operated according to Feudal Law. That is, jurisdiction was closely tied to property rights when most people did not own property. Now it isn’t, it’s more abstract and conceptual and democratic. Magna Carta gave us the writ of habeus corpus whereas before it was at the sovereign’s whim.

    Stuff changes, often for the better.

  222. Randal Oulton:

    @ Steve.says: EVERYONE TO THERE OWN, BUT IT SHOULD BE UP TO THE OWNERS HOW THEY RUN THERE HOTELS AND B&BS AND WHO STAY THERE!!

    I think you’ll find still a few white people in the American south who agree with you, even though yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr Day. 100s of millions of other Americans, though, would probably not.

  223. DanJ0:

    Randall: “You may have missed me earlier questioning whether it is perhaps more accurate to point to Roman law as a base for British law than Judaeo-Christian principles.”

    I may be wrong but I’d have thought Roman Law was more likely the forefunner of Napoleonic Law in Europe. That is, we have common law and they have civil law. Our courts are quite different here because of that as we operate in an adversarial manner rather than inquisitorial.

  224. Cabal:

    “I do care that this judge has acted beyond his powers and unconstitutionally in the deliberation of his judgement concerning the disregard of the Judaeo-Christian principles that the UK is constituted on, what replaces those principles discordianism, totalatarianism or maybe sharia law.”

    Melodrama.

  225. Randal Oulton:

    @ Danjo:

    This is where we’d have to specify what British law system — Scots or English/Welsh, lol.

    Even so, there’s a wiki (for what that’s worth) bit about Roman law in English/Welsh common law : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_law#Influences_of_foreign_legal_systems

  226. Jill:

    Hello, is that Poppy Tupper using my name again?

  227. Neutral:

    @ Goy

    No, he’s just spelled out the law of equality to those who thought they were above the law.

  228. DanJ0:

    That wikilink seems to be mostly supporting what I said, but hey.

    The thing is, the Equality Act is a statute anyway. It’s law made by our legislature ie. parliament. The people elect MPs and they create law, usually under the drive of the executive ie. government. Alternatively, ommon law evolves over time where necessarily and precedent is set by the judiciary according to legal principles and interpretation.

    Where’s the role for Judeo-Christian principles in our legislature? MPs just bring in their own socially-constructed values and argue rationally according to those and their perception of the will of The People.

    I really don’t get what Goy is on about.

  229. Goy:

    @Randal Oulton,

    Point taken, it would take a constitutional scholar to point out all the pros and cons of the judges debunking of the Judaeo-Christian principles as he called them, but I think his comments should open up the debate.

  230. Goy:

    @Cabal,

    “Melodrama” –

    Sharia law in Britain a threat to one law for all & equal rights.

  231. Passing By:

    Ive had a look on the website for the hotel and NOWHERE on there does it state or imply that they only let double rooms to married couples only. So therefore surely if they want to uphold this then it should be stated on their website. Just google the name of the Hotel to see. How can a person booking the room know in advance of their policies when the policies are NOT clearly stated on their website. Bad website management and a lack of understanding of the law in this country. It is their home and they should have the right to choose who stays in it. I wonder what would happen should an umarried couple of opposite sex book a room for a quick weekend? have they been turned away. hmmm

  232. Randal Oulton:

    @ Passing By : “It is their home and they should have the right to choose who stays in it. ”

    People keep saying that, missing the gist of the point — they have been writing it off as a business since 1986. It’s either a business and you get expenses and deductions off your income tax, OR it’s a personal home and you don’t. You can’t have it both ways: call the Inland Revenue, ask them.

  233. DanJ0:

    Goy, if you are going to use that link to complain about Sharia Law being used in civil matters being agreeing parties (subject to overarching English Law) then you ought to be complaining about other examples too, such as the Beth Din which Jewish people may choose to use in a similar way. That’s Jewish as in Judeo-Christian principles, you might like to note.

    Don’t you think it is a bit odd for you in this context to be giving a link which starts off with examples showing largely unwanted religious exceptions to our country’s notions of equality and fairness and makes claims of religious discrimination?

    The document also quotes one of its spokepeople as saying: “Whilst Sharia is practised differently in different countries, any positive difference is the result of progressive social movements for the secularisation of rights rather than a non-existent woman-friendly interpretation of Sharia law, particularly given that any innovation is considered heresy.” Look there! The positive differences are the result of progressive social movements for the secularation of rights, they claim. Well, quite.

    It’s hardy a strong position for you to be effectively saying: stick with the Christian influence where arbitrary and discriminatory practice only really tries to affect gay people, free speech, abortion, contraception, and embryo research in our modern liberal society because undermining that might open the door a bit more to a Muslim influence where that in some non-liberal and theocratic parts of the world results in stonings and cutting off hands in criminal law.

    I think I’d rather build a fence around the lot of you, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or whatever as far as the reach of your religion-specific morals are concerned and use modern, liberal, secular principles for the overwhelming majority of us who do not practice any religion. It’s not as though we don’t all share core ethics anyway for the most part, is it?

  234. DanJ0:

    Passing by: “Ive had a look on the website for the hotel and NOWHERE on there does it state or imply that they only let double rooms to married couples only.”

    http://www.chymorvah.co.uk/bookingform.html

    Lefthand side. “Therefore, although we extend to all a warm welcome to our home, our double bedded accommodation is not available to unmarried couples – Thank you.”

    It used to say they prefer to let to heterosexual married couples only for double rooms at the time of the breach of statutory law by the Bulls.

  235. Goy:

    @Danjo,

    … any positive difference is the result of progressive social movements for the secularisation of rights rather than a non-existent woman-friendly interpretation of Sharia law, particularly given that any innovation is considered heresy

    The Judaeo-Christian principles have at times been the genesis of progressive social movements, the modern notion of equality is probably more based on those principles than you would wish to acknowledge. The modern weapon maybe secular but the ammunition is most definitely Judaeo-Christian.

    Islam as the quote states is rigid, devoid of flexibility and fundamentally totalitarian.

  236. Cabal:

    “Sharia law in Britain a threat to one law for all & equal rights.”

    I’m all for no religious groups getting special treatment myself – although I’m sure having some Discordians about the place would be good for a lol.

  237. steve.:

    THIS IS ENGLAND!! AND SHOULD STAY BRITISH LAWS ONLY, NOTHING ELSE. IF PEOPLE DONT ABIDE BY OUR BRITISH LAWS THEN ITS SIMPLE,SOD OF BACK TO WERE YOU CAME FROM!!

  238. DanJ0:

    Yes Goy, Judeo-Christian principles have undoubted been thrown into the melting pot of our culture over time along with Enlightenment ideas and many other lines of thought.

    However, we are where we are now and that’s a long way down the line. We don’t reference the origins of all that when we’re working out our laws and ethics nor do we need to. We use today’s values and mores, and assess the impact in today’s terms. Quite rightly too, in my opinion.

    For some reason, you seem to think that reducing the influence of Christianity in our law necessarily weakens it, and you seem to imagine that a vacuum will result into which Islamic thought will be pulled. Unless you can argue the logic of the first one then you are just blowing smoke, and you make an invalid assumption about the second one because you ignore the possibility of secularism.

  239. Cabal:

    “THIS IS ENGLAND!! AND SHOULD STAY BRITISH LAWS ONLY, NOTHING ELSE. IF PEOPLE DONT ABIDE BY OUR BRITISH LAWS THEN ITS SIMPLE,SOD OF BACK TO WERE YOU CAME FROM!!”

    So where should the Bulls go, seeing as they disregarded British law?

  240. DanJ0:

    “THIS IS ENGLAND!! AND SHOULD STAY BRITISH LAWS ONLY, NOTHING ELSE. IF PEOPLE DONT ABIDE BY OUR BRITISH LAWS THEN ITS SIMPLE,SOD OF BACK TO WERE YOU CAME FROM!!”

    Yes, the Bulls need to abide by our laws and they have been chastised and fined for failing to do that. The problem is, they’re British as far as I know so where would you send them? :)

  241. steve.:

    THEY SHOULDNT HAVE BEEN TOOK TO COURT, HOW FAR IN THE 50S AND 60S WOULD THEY HAVE GOT?? ITS ALL WRONG, THE BULLS NEED TO APPEAL AGAINST THIS, ITS THERE BUSINESS NOT THE COURTS, IF THEY DONT WANT YOU ME ETC STAYING THERE ITS THERE RIGHTS AND SHOULD BE THERE RULES.

  242. DanJ0:

    Lol. So much for your saying people should follow our laws then. Perhaps you’d be better moving to another country yourself, Steve. :)

    Possibly a country where you yourself arbitrarily decide which laws people must follow and which ones people may refuse to follow.

  243. Jill:

    Well. I have spent an hour or so reading comments from neutral (i.e. non-religious) sources such as Sky News on this case and the Lesley Pilkington reparative therapy case.

    It strikes me that these, instead of having the desired effect of reducing ‘homophobia’, will very much increase it. Numerous people appear to have woken up to the fact that we are now under the heel of the rainbow jackboot, and are very angry at the loss of liberty.

    This is what comes of cutting off the branch on which we are all sitting – Christianity.

  244. Cabal:

    Except no liberty has been lost.

    No law has changed – you can’t discriminate between paying guests now, just as you can’t before. You can’t claim that homosexuality is universally a disease and recommend untested therapies as part of British medical practice – same as before.

    Doubtless some are going to be butthurt over the realisation that you can’t just flout these rules without consequence, but that has nothing to do with emotive crap like the “rainbow jackboot”.

  245. Justin:

    I love the phrase ‘rainbow jackboot’. I think Jill must have seen one or two of those on the last gay pride march she went on.

    I don’t see how anyone has lost liberty here: the gay couple’s liberty to book a room in a hotel without being turned away because of their gender has been upheld. As the judge so beautifully put it:

    “The defendants’ right to have their private and family life and their home respected is inevitably circumscribed by their decision to use their home in part as an hotel.”

  246. Merseymike:

    This is the right decision. I don’t believe that religionists should have special rights to discriminate against gay people. The law clearly doesn’t permit this. Christians have the right not to be discriminated against but their beliefs do not have priority and should they be discriminatory are treated the same as other discriminatory views

  247. Merseymike:

    Sorry Jill. You are simply a bad loser. Your co religionists have simply been prevented from discriminating against their fellow citizens. If that is what your religion has to offer then we are better off without it

  248. DanJ0:

    Numerous people? Some Christians and the likes of BNP members, I expect. This is just sour grapes by the more left of field lot. I don’t suppose most people are ever affected by cases like this in practice or care a hoot one way or another except as a passing news story.

  249. Goy:

    @DanJ0,

    You are just talking nonsense now, the only smoke being blown must be at your end – ganja into a vacuum.

  250. Merseymike:

    Actually I think Dan is right. These issues just aren’t controversial any more. It’s only fringe Christian extremists who get so upset.

  251. Jill:

    Not according to the news items and blogs I have read, Mike. You are living in a world of your own.

  252. Justin:

    Jill can you give us links to what you’ve been reading?

    I too had the impression that gay partnerships aren’t that controversial for most people, but then again I’m a raging liberal, I read the Guardian and listen to Radio 4. And I’m queer.

  253. Randal Oulton:

    Jill, remember there was controversy when divorced people were legally allowed to remarry; when the British Empire abolished slavery (well ahead of the Americans, to its credit); when women started working out of the home; when women got the vote — heck, even when non-land owning men got the vote, it was controversial. It was controversial when the law requiring regular Sunday attendance at a CofE was abolished. And there was the small matter of the controversy when the CofE itself was created.

    So, controversy is nothing new — but which of us would say we should roll back the clock on any of the items above?

  254. steve.:

    ITS DONE AND DUSTED, DOESNT MATTER WHAT ANY OF US SAY OR BELIEVE ,OUR ENGLISH LAWS ARE NO MORE, EVEN THE FREEDOM OF SPEACH?? SAY THE WRONG THING AND YOU END UP LOCKED UP. I JUST FEEL SORRY FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO CONTROL OF WHO THEY CAN HAVE STAYING IN THERE ROOMS?? WONDER WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?? PRAYING ROOMS FOR MUSLIMS!!! WHY IS IT THAT THERES 1 LAW FOR THEM AND ONE FOR US? £1000S SPENT IN BIRMINGHAM ON CCTV,THEN THEY COVER THEM UP BECAUSE THE MUSLIMS DONT LIKE IT, WELL YOU TRY AND GET THEM COVERED!! NOT A CHANCE, GOOD OLD BRITISH LAW???MORE LIKE BRITISH BULLSHIT!!

  255. Randal Oulton:

    @ Steve: I JUST FEEL SORRY FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO CONTROL OF WHO THEY CAN HAVE STAYING IN THERE ROOMS??

    If it is a private home, you have full control. (Well, to an extent — you can’t run a marijuana grow-op in your basement, or store murdered bodies there, and tell the police it’s none of their business.)

    If you are telling the Inland Revenue however that it’s a business, and treating yourself to all the generous deductions that come along with it (and living there cheaper yourself because of course you’re using some of that pint of milk you wrote off as a business expense) — then you can’t treat yourself to just the privileges and benefits of that while saying you should be exempt from the business laws that everyone else has to follow.

  256. Merseymike:

    Jill: I think you need to try living two weeks or so with no contact at all with conservative Christianity – and see exactly how much real concern these issues raise outside those circles.
    The main people who are really bothered are those of us involved in the campaigns on both sides, but I’m not daft enough to think that the vast majority of people think very little about these issues. They are simply not priorities to them. The people who post on blogs are generally gay activists and Christians!

    I think your chances of changing the law significantly are small. The Conservative party doesn’t appear to want to do so – look what happened to Chris Grayling – and while they are in coalition with the LibDems its even less likely. Labour are largely pro-gay. So are the Greens and the SNP and PC.

    Unless we experience a swing to the far right, which I trust you do not support, I think that you will have to accept that gay people are now part of the mainstream.

  257. Randal Oulton:

    @ Merseymike: The people who post on blogs are generally gay activists and Christians!

    I’d hazard a guess the Christians are Christian activists…. hehe.

  258. Cabal:

    “ITS DONE AND DUSTED, DOESNT MATTER WHAT ANY OF US SAY OR BELIEVE ,OUR ENGLISH LAWS ARE NO MORE”

    Ah, ok, the law you were two posts ago saying that everyone had to live by is now apparently nonexistent.

    “EVEN THE FREEDOM OF SPEACH??”

    even the freedom to spell it wrongly while bawling in allcaps

    “SAY THE WRONG THING AND YOU END UP LOCKED UP.”

    Such as?

    “I JUST FEEL SORRY FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO CONTROL OF WHO THEY CAN HAVE STAYING IN THERE ROOMS??”

    As pointed out already – are we talking about a place of accomodation or a private dwelling? The requirements are different for both.

    “WONDER WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?? PRAYING ROOMS FOR MUSLIMS!!!”

    Right on cue….

    “WHY IS IT THAT THERES 1 LAW FOR THEM AND ONE FOR US?”

    There isn’t. But hey, the notion of special treatment for religious types is a right pain, isn’t it? I mean, wouldn’t it just be annoying if you showed up at a hotel and you were turned down because the owner doesn’t like what you do with your wang? Oh wait!

    “£1000S SPENT IN BIRMINGHAM ON CCTV,THEN THEY COVER THEM UP BECAUSE THE MUSLIMS DONT LIKE IT, WELL YOU TRY AND GET THEM COVERED!!”

    If your local ones were installed as part of a counterterrorism measure like the specific ones in Birmingham were, then I’m sure you could.

    “NOT A CHANCE, GOOD OLD BRITISH LAW???MORE LIKE BRITISH BULLSHIT!!”

    Ah, ok, so it doesn’t exist. I wonder how you’ll contradict yourself in the next post?

  259. Jill:

    First of all, Mike, I didn’t pick up these vibes from conservative Christians, but from neutral websites like Sky News, where people with no interest at all in religion are starting to realise what is happening to civil liberty, and they don’t like it. Ignore that if you wish, but don’t say you weren’t warned. These are people who say they couldn’t care less about homosexuals and don’t see anything wrong with homosexuality, but don’t like the fact that decent people are being turned into criminals because they live by traditional morality.

    Chris Grayling. Hmm, yes, and many others who have been victims of campaigns by powerful gay lobby groups. That is something else the average Brit doesn’t like. It’s called bullying.

  260. Randal Oulton:

    @ Jill: victims of campaigns by powerful gay lobby groups.

    Throughout history, millions more were victims of powerful church lobby groups.

  261. Justin:

    Can you give us links to what you’ve been reading, Jill?

    You are effectively saying that we can say what we like here but everyone elsewhere agrees with you. I’m not convinced.

    And what *exactly* are you warning us of?

  262. Jill:

    Oh, I can’t remember, Justin. I know Sky News was one, the others were various news sources but I didn’t keep a record. My point was that they were not Christian, or even conservative, sites. Might even have been the Beeb!! I flit through two million sites a day.

    I am delighted to see that my No 1 hero, Cranny, has backed up my very first post on this blog about separation of state and church. This is from Conservative Home: (I hope he will forgive the plagiarism)

    Archbishop Cranmer said…
    You are right to point out, as His Grace has done, that this was not an incidence of anti-gay discrimination (or ‘prejudice’, as Stonewall insist). But the judge went further than Parliament ever has: he said that there is no difference between marriage and civil partnership. Throughout the parliamentary debates surrounding the Equality Bill 2007, synonymity was repudiated. Yet, here we are, just four years later, with a judge determining Parliament’s intention.

    Civil partnership cannot be marriage for as long as the state defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, which, of course, it does by statutory instrument in the Church of England Prayer Book. Unless the Coalition is moving to a degree of disestablishment, marriage cannot be redefined unless Parliament amend Anglican liturgy.

  263. Jill:

    PS I didn’t say everyone agreed with me. I haven’t even posted any comments. But I was struck, as these are not the sort of sites that I normally read, how many atheists have been woken from their slumber, who previously haven’t seen anything wrong with CPs, are now worried.

    As to ‘warning’ that is not for me to do, but take heed that the British people can only be pushed so far.

  264. Cabal:

    Reactionary uncritical garbage on a Sky News comments page?

    Say it ain’t so….

  265. DanJ0:

    Goy: “You are just talking nonsense now, the only smoke being blown must be at your end – ganja into a vacuum.”

    Goy, you are being bombarded with points about our law and you have no comeback. I’ve read your link and commented on various parts of that and you have very little to say. I have talked about the Beth Din when you try to raise a Muslim bogeyman and you have nothing to say about that. I’ve challenged your assumptions and you have nothing except the above to say to that. The best you seem to be able to come up with is vague warnings about Islam. That’s your position in all this. It’s not great, is it?

  266. Randal Oulton:

    Jill, can I ask how you evolved into being an anti-gay activist? What was your personal journey into this?

  267. DanJ0:

    Jill, you quote Cranmer thus “But the judge went further than Parliament ever has: he said that there is no difference between marriage and civil partnership. Throughout the parliamentary debates surrounding the Equality Bill 2007, synonymity was repudiated. Yet, here we are, just four years later, with a judge determining Parliament’s intention.”

    However, the judge did not say that there is no difference between marriage and civil partnership! He was quite careful by the look of it. He refers to the articles in the Human Rights Act and specific parts of the regulations published in 2007 which support the Equality Act 2006. The regulations are specifically about determining discrimination.

    The judge says: “There is no material difference (for the purpose of this regulation) between marriage and a civil partnership.” in (35). and “Regulation 3(4) says that there is no material difference between those who are married and those who are in a civil partnership.” in (45) and “for the purpose of 3(3)(b) there is no material difference between the two legal forms of relationship.” in (45). He also says “The claimants are a family in the eyes of the law just as much as are the married defendants.” in respect of Article 8 of the HRA which deals with the right to a private and family life.

    I think your Cranmer needs to look again and understand what he’s reading.

  268. DanJ0:

    The British Attitudes Survey 2008 provides some good evidence of social change. In the last 25 years, there’s been a change from 2 in 3 to 1 in 3 who say homosexual acts are always or mostly wrong. Only 1 in 5 say they are always wrong. And half of the respondents say they are never or rarely wrong. That’s pretty good in the scheme of things. With more positive coverage on TV in the last couple of years, I think we’re going to see even better results soon. Unfortunately for the Bulls, 2 in 3 think there is little difference between living together and being married, and 7 in 10 think there’s nowt wrong with sex before marriage.

  269. Merseymike:

    Marriage can be defined by the State any way it wants. The Church will then have to decide what it wants to do – given that so few people go it really isn’t a major priority. The number of church weddings is at an all time low and the vast majority take place in lovely country churches. My urban outer-estate vicar friend hasn’t done a wedding for literally years

    Civil marriage is the State’s responsibility, not that of the Church

  270. Randal Oulton:

    I expect there were similar attitude changes on the topic of legalizing divorce and remarriage of divorced people, though of course such attitude surveys would not have been done then.

    It’s my understanding that a parish in CofE can still refuse to marry a divorced person, and that once denied, you’re out of luck for anywhere in the CofE. “If your parish priest refuses to marry you, there is no process of appeal. Priests are also within their rights to refuse to allow their church to be used for this purpose by another ‘sympathetic’ priest. Furthermore, it is not possible for divorcees to search for another church where there may be a priest prepared to take the service.” http://www.weddingguideuk.com/articles/legal/englandwales.asp#civil

    Is marriage in England civil, or religious? I am confused.

    In Canada, where I am, all marriages are first and foremost civil. Your licence to marry is issued by the government, and then you choose where to exercise it — church, boat, backyard, whatever. Any person who agrees to perform the ceremony, which includes religious people who have the right to decline (government marriage commissioners who are paid public servants do not have the right to decline) must have a licence from the government to allow them to perform marriages. Seems to work without a hitch for all concerned. Of course, the usual government fees at each step of the way are collected :}

  271. Merseymike:

    Oh, I think rather the opposite, Jill. The decision has been made, and I think that if you persist in complaining, people will soon tire of it – simply because the world won’t fall in.

    Every single legal and social change has been opposed by extremist Christians like yourself , and you have made as you do so many extravagant examples of the likely consequences. The problem is that none of them have happened. Civil partnerships was the most important one, as it led to so many other changes in its wake. I predict that given that the two statuses have so little difference – in fact, none to speak of in terms of legal rights and responsibilities – that they will unite as civil marriage for all within the next few years. And that won’t be controversial either – because everyone already talks about gay marriage in any case.

    You can stand on the sidelines and shout all you want, but the fact is that we are consistently winning the legal and political arguments. Do you realise that there are now more openly gay Conservative MP’s than any other party?

  272. DanJ0:

    Randal: “Is marriage in England civil, or religious? I am confused.”

    It’s a bit complicated. Marriage is first and foremost a social/state institution and there are marriage licences. One can get married in a Register Office or special licenced premises without any religious trappings, or with informal religious trappings.

    However, religious marriages are regulated and the regulations depend on the religion. In Christian marriages, the vicar or priest enables the process in religious terms and acts as agents of the state for the civil bits. In marriages for other religions, the ceremonies are usually separate and the couple are not married until the civil ceremony is completed. My Hindu friends often get religious married abroad and come back for the civil ceremony.

    Civil partnership ceremonies are like civil weddings *except* that no formal or informal religious trappings are allowed as far as I know. This, I believe, is to stop the religious moaning about it. I like to think it’s a halfway house to allow the religious to get over it before the next step happens. :)

  273. DanJ0:

    “because everyone already talks about gay marriage in any case”

    Very deliberately, in my case. :)

  274. Merseymike:

    Actually, at present civil marriages and civil partnerships alike are not allowed to be religious.

    However, some religious groups want to carry out civil partnerships – the Quakers, and the Liberal and Reform Jews, for a start – and the Equality Act has enabled this, with the details currently being ironed out.

    Of course, there are countless blessings of gay partnerships going on in churches ‘unofficially’

  275. DanJ0:

    Merseymike: “Actually, at present civil marriages and civil partnerships alike are not allowed to be religious.”

    Well, I’ve learnt something today! I would have sworn blind that informal religious stuff was allowed provided the marriage wasn’t solemised with religious words. But no, as you say, it isn’t.

  276. Randal Oulton:

    @ Merseymike: “Actually, at present civil marriages and civil partnerships alike are not allowed to be religious.”

    So there are 3 different types of licences? Gah. Glad the UK taxpayer is so flush these days that that the government can afford that kind of admin overhead duplication.

  277. Bandit Queen:

    It is not the opinion of the survey that will decide who is right in t his case: it is the supreme law and word of God!

    The Bulls will rejoice in heaven: the perverted sodamites that persecuted them will burn in hell!

  278. Goy:

    @DanJ0,

    Relax and enjoy the vacuum of the little court victory for there are millions of bogeyman waiting to fill that vacuum and engage with the pink supremacists.

  279. Randal Oulton:

    @Bandit Queen: “sodamites”

    Gosh, I never knew mites could get in soda. Do you mean baking soda, washing soda, or drinking soda?

  280. Merseymike:

    Pink supremacists? Oooh, feel the power!

    That’s the sort of silly statement which makes ordinary people think that Christians are silly extremists

  281. Justin:

    Bandit Queen –

    I’ve learnt today simply by being myself that I’m a pink supremacist and a perverted sodomite and that I wear pink jackboots.

    Your comments are particularly aggressive. Are nasty to gay people and non-Christians all the time? Or do you have a sassy Bandit Queen sense of humour behind all that preachiness?

  282. Merseymike:

    Rainbow jackboots, if you don’t mind!

  283. Goy:

    The gay lobby and pink supremacists have clearly set themselves up as anti-christian and have demonstrated their desire to destroy the Church. Christians and the Church should respond to this threat immediately the first step should be an acknowledgement to the British people that the church has been the target of entrism by the gay lobby and pink supremacists.

  284. Randal Oulton:

    @ Goy: Just come out and acknowledge your personal passionate hatred of LGBT people, etc. No need to be dancing around the bush. Everyone has figured it out.

  285. Goy:

    @Randal Oulton,

    I find it absurd to hate anyone because of their sexual orientation, a diservice is being done to LGBT people by the very groups that claim to represent them. They have clearly picked a fight with christianity why should christians not defend themselves. Evil is the equality that only creates animosity and division, do you stop yourself from being crimanalised by criminalising others?

  286. Randal Oulton:

    @ Goy “They have clearly picked a fight with christianity why should christians not defend themselves.”

    So LGBT people are not Christians? They’re not welcome past the vestibule?

  287. Randal Oulton:

    @ Goy : “Evil is the equality that only creates animosity and division”

    So I take it you are would be opposed, on the same principle of “animosity and division”, to the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the American Constitution that moved towards equality for blacks because some whites in the American south opposed those Amendments?

  288. Goy:

    @Randal Oulton,

    The Civil War or Reconstruction Amendments are not even in the same ball park never mind time or continent.

    In any case if the Amendments had worked there should have been no need for the civil rights movement of the sixties.

  289. Richard:

    Clearly the court was right in law to uphold the charge of sexual orientation discrimination. The problem I see here is not with the decision itself but with the inconsistency ingrained in a deeply flawed law, a law that seeks to force people to think consensus thoughts and hold consensus views. Minorities are now discriminated against in a very different way than formerly – “think the wrong thoughts, believe the wrong beliefs, and we’ll set the law on you”. Thought crime has become a reality.

    For Christians, there is already a tension between godliness and judgementalism – the Bull couple were, I think, probably just trying to stick to their principles rather than attempting to pass any judgement on their prospective guests, but it’s impossible for anyone but them to know this. Nevertheless, although the former is more likely, the latter has been assumed by the court, and a bad law has been upheld as a result.

    I would not like to see a return to the dark days when homosexuality was illegal, but neither am I looking forward to the day when people are locked up for saying it’s immoral.

    I honestly don’t know whether or not the Bulls were wise to institute their policy in the first place, but I can see why they did so and I can at least sympathise with their decision. The law that convicted them is grossly flawed, as it fails to recognise that it is actually impossible to respect everybody’s equality simultaneously – by finding the Bulls guilty, the law system itself is guilty of religious discrimination. (Can you imagine the court convicting a Moslem hotelier of the same offence, for example?)

    The Equality Act doesn’t do what it says on the tin. It needs to be repealed. It should never have been passed.

  290. DanJ0:

    Richard: “Minorities are now discriminated against in a very different way than formerly – “think the wrong thoughts, believe the wrong beliefs, and we’ll set the law on you”. Thought crime has become a reality.” and “I would not like to see a return to the dark days when homosexuality was illegal, but neither am I looking forward to the day when people are locked up for saying it’s immoral.”

    We don’t have thought crime in the UK any more, that was from the age of our inter-religious wars. Now we have almost removed Christianity from the State, we’re free of that. Elizabeth Tudor started the trend away from that when she said that she didn’t want to make windows into men’s souls. I’m a staunch liberal as well as a gay man and an atheist and that I would be up in arms about thought crimes.

    No, equality laws aren’t about making thought crimes, they’re about people doing things or not doing things. As a Christian, you may think homosexual acts are immoral, and as a gay man and an atheist I may think your Chrsitianity is immoral and deluded. However, if you run a hotel then the law means that you can’t use my homosexuality to deny me goods and services and the law says that I cannot use your Christian beliefs to deny you goods and services. Which is all to the good, in my opinion.

    You say that the law is flawed because it fails to recognise that it is impossible to respect everybody’s equality. You haven’t written enough for me to be sure but I suspect you don’t understand how these laws work and are intended to work if you think that. The second part of Article 9 of the Human Rights Act is a qualified right, not an absolute one. That’s crucial. If you read the judgement carefully (unlike Jill’s Cranmer, it seems) then you will see how the judge has balanced these things properly to reach a decisive outcome.

  291. Randal Oulton:

    @ Goy “The Civil War or Reconstruction Amendments are not even in the same ball park never mind time or continent.”

    Uh, sorry, that argument doesn’t work on me. That argument is a tool of the religious right to invite people to believe that there’s a special reason (the Bible) to downgrade LGBT civil rights.

    As I know you’re aware, churches split because many well-meaning people profoundly believed that the Bible endorsed slavery. And no doubt many discussions such as we are having here happened. And as you know, those Christians who held to their view that scripture was a reason to deny civil rights have ended up being judged fools and bigots by history.

    I raised this point because you wrote “Evil is the equality that only creates animosity and division.”

    Sometimes the battle for rights creates animosity and division, because some people for the rest of their natural born lives will be opposed to others getting those rights. But that’s in the “oh well”, category. One simply waits for them to die off. We were right to not have held off on equality rights for blacks and women for fear that some others would be upset. Sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette, and there are a few eggheads in the church.

    I for one do not believe we are called to tolerate intolerance. Intolerance is to be fought against wherever it pops up.

    @ Richard “a law that seeks to force people to think consensus thoughts and hold consensus views”

    Actually the law in question forced the Bulls to treat customers equally without discrimination. It is a very good law. The Bulls do not deserve special treatment because of any beliefs they have. Re forcing consensus thoughts and consensus views, I would have thought the pros in such matters were actually earnest church people.

  292. DanJ0:

    Go: “Relax and enjoy the vacuum of the little court victory for there are millions of bogeyman waiting to fill that vacuum and engage with the pink supremacists.”

    Yet another vague warning about Muslims?

  293. Merseymike:

    Actually, gay people and the groups representing their interest have no particular interest in singling out any other specific group, but clearly we do need to oppose homophobia and those who wish to promote and encourage discrimination against us, which I think is quite reasonable.

    Also, the law does not regulate thought, but action. What the Bulls did was refuse paying customers a double room because they were gay: it is that which is not allowed. Nothing to do with their views, but their actions. The law does protect Christians, but not Christianity, in the sense that religion is no reason to allow discrimination. So, Christians are protected from discrimination against them because they are Christians, but simply being Christian doesn’t give them carte blanche to discriminate against others. If a gay hotelier turned away customers because of their religion, then they would be in exactly the same position as the Bulls. You have to compare like with like, and ot appears to me that some people are asking for special rights to discriminate for Christians.

  294. Goy:

    @DanJ0,

    I’m a staunch liberal as well as a gay man and an atheist and that I would be up in arms about thought crimes.

    The equality laws are thought crimes not only that the presumption is that the citizenary are all homophobic and racist.

    @Randal Oulton,

    To find the real roots of African slavery you should look to Mecca, how many decendents of African slaves in the Middle East in comparison to the millions in the U.S. is your willful blindness to the roots of slavery racist.

  295. Cabal:

    “To find the real roots of African slavery you should look to Mecca, how many decendents of African slaves in the Middle East in comparison to the millions in the U.S. is your willful blindness to the roots of slavery racist.”

    And this has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the fact that slavery in the west was justified by the Bible, in exactly the same fashion as those who would seek to deny the rights of homosexuals in the west today.

    The “but Muslims are worse than us” excuse is just shameful and hypocritical buck-passing.

  296. DanJ0:

    Goy: “The equality laws are thought crimes not only that the presumption is that the citizenary are all homophobic and racist.”

    That’s simply an assertion as it stands. Can you back it up with an explanation and references to the actual laws?

  297. Tom:

    I am just puzzled why the Bulls decided to make the issue of upholding their Christian principles hinge solely on the kinds of sexual activity that may or may not be allowed in one of their bedrooms. It seems they simply wouldn’t allow a room with a “cama matrimoniale”, as the Spanish so pointedly call a double bed, be occupied by anyone who was not in a marriage – it didn’t even have to be Holy Matrimony, so not the high bar they set on their website. Otherwise they offered only twin-bedded rooms. Two twin beds can be pushed together (unless Peter and Hazelmary had nailed their feet to the floor at a regulation 3 feet apart) and it seems they were willing for non-married (including same-sex) couples to occupy one of these rooms. However given that a couple might satisfy them that they were indeed married (even if only civilly, not in church and after umpteen divorces) it is difficult to see this claim of “a profound respect for marriage” as a bit smelly? Apparently sexual sin (other people’s) is the only sin that the Bulls and co-religionists of their ilk are really concerned with. What’s to stop their guests committing some equally grave sin – like holding a séance in the room or doing witchcraft? Exodus is as equally outspoken on this (Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live) as it is on male-male sexual intercourse, but it does not seem to worry the Bulls what else might go on “in their own home”. Can it be wondered that people of Jill’s persuasion are failing to persuade and ultimately giving Christianity a bad name?

  298. Tom:

    difficult not to see – dohh.

  299. Justin:

    @Tom
    “Apparently sexual sin (other people’s) is the only sin that the Bulls and co-religionists of their ilk are really concerned with. What’s to stop their guests committing some equally grave sin – like holding a séance in the room or doing witchcraft? ”

    Exactly – you’ve put very eloquently something that occurred to me: what about married couples who engage in anal intercourse or such like. Is there a Christian view on that?

  300. Sophie:

    @ Tom: Thanks for that sensible and amusing post. I had a little grin to myself at the mental vision of people sacrificing a goat in one of the Bull’s bedrooms. :-)

  301. Tom:

    Or a bull? Apparently the smell is extremely pleasing to the Lord

  302. DanJ0:

    The Radio 4 Today programme had a small segment about Lesley Pilkington this morning if anyone is interested. The guests were a psychologist and a lawyer from the CLC I think. Shame it wasn’t a bit longer, really.

  303. Jill:

    Dear Webmaster

  304. Sophie:

    @ Justin: I can’t speak for others, but my Christian view is “whatever floats your boat!”

  305. Jill:

    Dear Webmaster

    Can you tell me how to unsubscribe to these comments? I keep unchecking the ‘notify’ box but the email continue to land in my intry thick and fast.

    This blog has been taken over by gay activists who I do not wish to read. This happens to all blogs unless the activists are banned, as Merseymike (who has been banned from just about every Christian blog) will tell you.

  306. Jill:

    I meant ‘in-tray’ of course.

    This is all part of the bully-boy tactics of the gay lobby who home into blogs like this.

  307. Justin:

    @Sophie – yes, and of course it’s entirely a private matter.

  308. webmaster:

    Hi Jill, there’s an unsubscribe link in the email you receive.

  309. Cabal:

    “This blog has been taken over by gay activists who I do not wish to read. This happens to all blogs unless the activists are banned, as Merseymike (who has been banned from just about every Christian blog) will tell you.”

    So much for freedom of speech, eh….

  310. Justin:

    @Jill – I’m gay and I have an opinion to add to the pot – does that make me a gay activist? Are you a Christian activist for voicing your opinions?

  311. Tom:

    I can think of a couple of Christian websites where no one is allowed to offer a comment – Anglican Mainstream, Ekklesia, Christian Institute, Christian Voice. Peter Ould’s and this website are honourable exceptions. Ruth Gledhill’s used to be but now it is behind a paywall which more of less killed it – and Libby Purves’s never really took off. I suppose there is always Damien Thompson’s at the Telegraph…..

  312. Sophie:

    @ Jill: You’ve said many vicious and deeply unChristian things about gay men over the past couple of months. It’s been your main interest, almost a preoccupation. Other religious or uplifting topics introduced by the webmaster seem to have mostly passed you by. But now there are lots of gay men contributing and all of a sudden you want to withdraw…

    Reminds me of that bloke in Dad’s Army: “They don’t like it up ‘em!”

  313. Cabal:

    “Reminds me of that bloke in Dad’s Army: ‘They don’t like it up ‘em!’ ”

    Must….not….crack…joke…given….subject…matter…

  314. Webmaster:

    Thanks Tom, I really appreciate that comment, it means a lot and most folk don’t notice or acknowledge it.

    It’s not always easy for me, but I passionately believe in freedom of speech, expression and opinion.

  315. Tom:

    No, Webmaster, thank you.

  316. Sophie:

    @ Cabal: Thought I’d already made the joke…

  317. Cabal:

    @Sophie:

    I invariably lower the tone further :D

  318. Sophie:

    @ Webmaster: As you say “It’s not always easy for me, but I passionately believe in freedom of speech, expression and opinion.”

    I notice. And I’m sure others must too.

  319. DanJ0:

    “This is all part of the bully-boy tactics of the gay lobby who home into blogs like this.”

    I’m here because I’m interested in this particular story and I want to discuss it in a safe environment with people who don’t necessarily think like I do. That’s a very good way of testing one’s arguments, refining one’s thoughts on a topic, and learning how to present an argument with clarity.

    I spent nearly 18 months a few years back being visited by the Jehovah Witnesses as I was interested in their version of god and their understanding of the Bible. It was hugely instructive. If one just spends one’s time reaffirming one’s own views and opinions with like-minded people then at best one ends up with a small view of the world and at worst one ends up a bigot, I’d say.

  320. Goy:

    @DanJ0,

    Yours is the assertion defending laws that you have not read, tempted to ask you to read my thoughts. In Scotland the thought crime victim only has to perceive that the alleged equality crime was motivated by race, religion or sex identity a criminal justice system that is a game of thought crime double jeopardy.

    If these are not the stuff of thought crimes I do not no what is.

  321. Goy:

    @Webmaster,

    Lol free speech and the the usual suspects on this site, you know who you are – the first to throw the accusations of hate speech when your real political agenda is being exposed, free speech as long as it is their speech.

  322. Cabal:

    “when your real political agenda is being exposed”

    Uh, not really – it was posted in response to someone stating in no uncertain terms that anyone disagreeing with her should be banned.

    Pot, kettle, black.

  323. Merseymike:

    Not exactly, Goy.

    For something like direct discrimination, there would have to be an event which at least suggested that discrimination was taking place. Indeed, the Bulls made no attempt to deny this, but argued that they should have special rights to enable discrimination.

    think you may be thinking of the hate crime legislation, where police are directed to treat something as a hate crime if the victim perceives this to be the case. That doesn’t mean that evidence will then not have to be collected in the normal way, but it ensures that a full investigation is done which takes on board these motivations. That makes sense in terms of motivations and identity of possible suspects, being able to link into informal intelligence and so on. This is particularly important in matters such as the mother and daughter who were clearly victimised because of their disabilities and learning difficulties, but the police did not treat this as a hate crime and the consequences were all too tragic.

    There were many cases of hate crimes being investigated badly because the police did not ask the victim about this motivation, so now, the onus is placed on the perception of the crime by the victim in terms of how it is dealt with.

  324. Simian:

    @ Danjo
    And that’s why I’m here, as an Atheist. It does not mean that I dismiss religion. I want to understand it, and to test, and if necessary re-evaluate my assumptions. I don’t agree with a lot that is said here but I am willing to listen. It always strikes me as odd that people tend to spend most of their time visiting the blogs that most closely mirror their own views. Wouldn’t it be dull if we all agreed all the time?

  325. Sophie:

    Incidentally, this case came up in conversation with a neighbour who said she was sorry to see that the Church thought it right to defend Mr & Mrs Bull in court. It was a bit much, she said.

    Turns out she’d assumed the Christian Legal Centre is an official body which legally represents Christian interests. The legal arm of the C of E. This is a perfectly reasonable misunderstanding on her part, but it highlights how the CLC and its sorry parade of “victims” reflects on the church as a whole. Onlookers are likely to assume that the CLC speaks for us all. Any ideas?

  326. DanJ0:

    Goy: “Yours is the assertion defending laws that you have not read, tempted to ask you to read my thoughts.”

    and

    “The equality laws are thought crimes”

    Goy, you’re basically mixing up your laws. But let’s accept for the purposes of debate that the hate laws and the equality laws flow from the same sort of principles.

    The part of the hate laws to which you are referring are about the recording and investigation of incidents. Merseymike has covered the reason for this but it stems from the Macpherson report into the Stephen Lawrence murder if I recall correctly. If the police as an organisation is institutionally racist, for example, then that probably affects whether race crimes are even recorded as such let alone investigated properly.

    An incident is not necessarily a crime. And thoughts aren’t actions. For an incident to be a crime, a criminal offence has to have been committed. For someone to be convicted of a criminal offence, the case must generally be proved beyond reasonable doubt. What you are referring to is a ‘hate incident’, not a hate crime.

    Moreover, motivation for an action is an important part of a criminal investigation, and it is a mitigating/aggravating factor in sentencing too. You might want to check out what ‘mens rea’ and ‘actus reus’ mean in the context of crime too. That’s always been the case and for laws other than our so-called equality ones.

  327. DanJ0:

    Btw, I have strong reservations about our hate laws.

  328. Jill:

    I didn’t say I was going to stop commenting – merely that I didn’t want my inbox stuffed with emails telling me about comments made by all the gay activists who have taken over this blog. I have been tied up with other things for the last day or two and can barely see the other mail in my inbox.

    There comes a point when a Christian blog on homosexuality and its ramifications ceases to be a Christian blog and becomes a blog for gay activists. How many Christians are still posting here? I have no wish to debate with secular gay activists because they have no interest in my point of view, and will always resort to ad hominem.

    Sophie, what you say is not true. I have never said anything vicious or vindictive about homosexuals and nor would I; only about homosexual practice. To whoever it was who asked earlier why I was on an anti-gay crusade, I am not anti-gay, just pro marriage.

    You do not have to look too far to see the reasons I am so opposed to homosexual practice, as I have told them many times before. I lost one very dear friend and colleague many years ago to AIDS, and the picture of him in the last months of his slow and wretched death is seared for ever on my mind. In my world of music and the arts I do know perhaps more than the average number of ssa people, and there is one who has the same ‘look’ about him now. He is only in his forties, yet he is kept alive by anti-retroviral drugs but is nevertheless very ill. There is no cure. His bones stick through his skin. I have another young friend who I have known since he was born, and who was a beautiful and gifted boy, who is now looking similar, stick thin and ill. He is only in his thirties. I know he is part of the gay scene where he lives now. I cried when I saw him when he came home for Christmas, and feel terribly for his parents, who I know well. There are others.

    These are all victims of their own behaviour, and personally, like the Bulls, I will do nothing to encourage this. I am angry with the government for not issuing health warnings as they do with smoking and not eating five a day. HIV is on the rise amongst young gay men, which is hardly surprising given the encouragement they are receiving. This makes me very angry.

  329. Cabal:

    Jill, HIV is not a gay disease.

    Would you eulogise about straight people dying of AIDS (which is indifferent to orientation) in the same way, lamenting “their lifestyle”?

  330. Sophie:

    @ Jill: “I lost one very dear friend and colleague many years ago to AIDS, and the picture of him in the last months of his slow and wretched death is seared for ever on my mind. In my world of music and the arts I do know perhaps more than the average number of ssa people, and there is one who has the same ‘look’ about him now. He is only in his forties, yet he is kept alive by anti-retroviral drugs but is nevertheless very ill. There is no cure. His bones stick through his skin. I have another young friend who I have known since he was born, and who was a beautiful and gifted boy, who is now looking similar, stick thin and ill. He is only in his thirties.”

    You should have seen my husband. It was heart-breaking. Emaciated beyond belief. And the agony he went through in the long, long months he took to die. I will never forget that. My children were in pieces. They have been scarred forever…

    It’s all too sorrowly true. Except that he didn’t die of AIDs. He died of liver cancer brought on a disease he’d caught working in Africa.

    He was a victim of his lifestyle. Working abroad. Working in Africa. We must stop it. You know it makes sense.

    Honestly, Jill, take a look at what you’re saying. You seem so unaware of yourself. Your head’s full of undigested thoughts, griefs and angers. Have you ever considered getting yourself and your feelings in reasonable shape before slinging muck at innocent bystanders?

  331. Justin:

    Shame on you Jill.

    Yes, multiple sexual partners and unsafe sex are factors which increase the risk of contracting HIV, but this is as true for homosexuals as for straight people, as anyone who works in public health will tell you.

    Do you assume that all gay men are promiscuous and have risky sex? I’m a little offended by that. It’s about as sensible as assuming that all straight people or all Christians are necessarily monogamous.

    The couple who wished to stay at the Bulls’ hotel were civil partners.

  332. DanJ0:

    Of course the irony about opposition to gay marriage or civil partnerships is that marriage is a stablising force in relationships. People who worry about promiscuous relationships ought to be applauding the creation of what is essentially gay marriage.

  333. Sophie:

    Despite Jill’s assertion that the atheist mainstream media are in her camp (so to speak), the reality appears to be that various outlets have commented variously, as one might expect.

    Brian Reade in the Mirror is very outspoken. Here’s just a taster:

    “The huge contradiction at the heart of this intolerance is that if Christ’s second coming took place in Cornwall and he had to choose between staying in the Bulls’ B&B or one run by gays he’d no doubt choose the latter.

    He would do it because it felt far more Christian.”

  334. Cabal:

    If two guys can’t get a double room, the Bulls sure wouldn’t like having 13 show up.

    Scandalous!

  335. Sophie:

    @ Cabal: And drinking, too…

  336. Randal Oulton:

    @ Sophie: And wearing men’s clothes that look like muumuu’s

  337. Sophie:

    @ Randal: What about all that facial hair?

    I’m off – time to cook, kids starving.

  338. Sophie:

    Jill went off in a huff. She came back in a minute and a huff.

  339. Richard:

    @Jill:

    “There comes a point when a Christian blog on homosexuality and its ramifications ceases to be a Christian blog and becomes a blog for gay activists.”

    It isn’t just the homosexuality issue, Jill. It is almost impossible to find a discussion group where Christians (and I suspect that you and I, at least, would more or less agree on what the word means) can discuss issues of importance to Christians without interference from the pro-sin and pro-atheism lobbies.

    “How many Christians are still posting here?”

    At least two. :-)

    “I have no wish to debate with secular gay activists because they have no interest in my point of view, and will always resort to ad hominem.”

    That has been my experience, too. I wonder if there would be any mileage in creating a moderated discussion group for Christians (in the Usenet sense of “moderated” – i.e. no article is posted until one of the moderators has read it and considered it to be worth posting). Moderation necessarily slows down the process of debate, which can be frustrating but may actually turn out to be a good thing, as it will give people time to think more clearly about what is being said.

    No doubt the pro-sin lobby will cry “censorship” at this. Let them. Like you, I am not overly excited by the idea of debating with closed minds.

  340. Caral:

    @Richard

    I do agree.

    It is the trolling that gets quite depressing. It would be nice for everyone to just to remember that they are guests on a Christian blog, and guests of the webmaster, and showing a little respectful to one and another is always courteous. I’ve always believed that it was something that us Brits were renowned for this, and really we shouldn’t lay it aside just because we are not face to face, for we are still speaking in public.

    It interesting and quite fascinating to read the wonderfully diverse views and well presented opinions, from every side. Yet, perhaps we could all encourage one and another to use basic civility, with a possibly pause for thought may be wise, just to check our own motives and arguments. Of course it is a tough call especially with such emotive subjects.

    P.S. There are other Christians. :)

  341. Neutral:

    @Passing By Says:

    “It is their home and they should have the right to choose who stays in it. ”

    For the very last time. No, it is not their home when they run a business. The parts they ‘let out to in return for money’ is no longer their private home, but a public residence – a business. Just as a Travelodge is not a home.

    If they stop charging people to stay there, they can turn away whom-so-ever they feel like.

    One small point, that was printed in Metro. Consider this.

    Would they have turned away Joseph and Mary while she was carrying Jesus? they were unmarried. And they are the bedrock of the bible. Contradiction? No? or is this ‘actually’ about Gay …

  342. Caral:

    @Neutral

    I think that there is always room for everyone. Are there not women only holiday firms, mixed sex couples only holidays, family only holidays and adults only establishments.

    Everyone can be catered for, but we should also recognise and respect the views of others and allow them to be catered for and to.

  343. Neutral:

    @ Simian
    I believe you’ll find that an Atheist is actually just what you say you aren’t. They actively do not believe in God, just as much as Religious ‘do’ believe in God. The proper term for yourslef, I believe, is Agnostic, which I am. Where you essentially ‘reserve judegment. (this could also be called sceidnfitic, in that you assess both options, weight the evidence for both, and try and decide, but do not cement a decision until you have ireefutable proof either way).

    (yeha, I can’t spell, it’s late lol)

    Plus. I am Not a gay activist. Never commented like this before in ma life. But this case made my blood boil, especially the support the Church has given it.

  344. Neutral:

    @Caral … um, … maybe you’re referring to an old post, ‘cos my recent ones weren’t intended to even hint at what you just commented on.

    That said … I’ve always wondered ‘how’ the women only car insurance is legal. Just because satistically men are worse dirvers (in some ages, in some spin) doesn’t mean we all are. It is essentially sexist, taring all with the same brush. I wonder how they got around that in the law courts?

  345. Richard:

    What the pro-sin lobby are failing (either deliberately or through perhaps understandable ignorance) to recognise is that this “discrimination” is not the kind that Randal rightly abhors. It’s about righteousness. Not self-righteousness, but righteousness. There is an important distinction.

    I am still not sure whether what the Bulls did was wise, and that’s a debate I’d love to have with a few Christians, which obviously won’t be possible here because of all the noise. But I can understand why they did it: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.

    To the Bulls, it seems, it is (rightly) important that they should keep their household righteous before God. I don’t think that’s actually possible if you’re running a B&B, but obviously they wanted to try. It isn’t a question of discrimination, but a question of right and wrong.

    I have known quite a few drug addicts. Talked to them. Made friends with them. Become interested in their lives. Led them in worship. Helped to feed them. Sympathised as they explained how their habit had led them into crime. I do not think it is reasonable to claim that I discriminate against drug addicts. But I still think drug abuse is wrong, and I wouldn’t want it happening under my roof, not even if I ran a B&B.

    The analogy is actually quite a close one.

  346. Simian:

    @ Neutral
    No. I really am an atheist. But I hope a polite one. One who is not closed minded, and who respects the sincerely held views of others. I think maybe my phrase “I don’t dismiss religion” could be misinterpreted, and I should have said “I don’t dismiss those who believe. I don’t agree with them, but I want to understand them, and I think that I can still learn things from them, without myself believing in their God.” I hope this clarifies my position.

  347. DanJ0:

    Richard: “But I still think drug abuse is wrong, and I wouldn’t want it happening under my roof, not even if I ran a B&B.”

    Sorry Richard, more ‘noise’ I’m afraid.

    You analogy might be more accurate if the drug users were users of (say) insulin for type I diabetes. That is, their drug use is legal and normal, without inherent harm issues if done correctly, and there because the drug user’s body just works a bit differently from birth. And even then the analogy doesn’t cover the committed ‘agape’ type love involved in relationships just like heterosexual ones.

  348. DanJ0:

    Neutral: “[Atheists] actively do not believe in God, just as much as Religious ‘do’ believe in God.”

    I’m an atheist but my lack of belief in god is not active like that. I’m like a non-golfer to a golfer. Some people spend all day Sunday walking around a golf course, wear Pringle jumpers, tot up their scorecards as they go along, discuss the finer points of golf with other golfers, spend time and energy practicing the golf, and so on. I just don’t play golf or even think about it much unless the topic crops up.

    Actually, even though I’m an atheist ie. I am without a belief in theism I could very easily be a deist ie. accept that the universe or multiverse was created by something which is not specifically interested in humans and whose purpose is entirely beyond us.

  349. Richard:

    @Danjo: “You analogy might be more accurate if the drug users were users of (say) insulin for type I diabetes. That is, their drug use is legal and normal, without inherent harm issues if done correctly, and there because the drug user’s body just works a bit differently from birth.”

    You’re looking at the issue, very understandably, from a human perspective. To me, and (I think) to the Bulls, the legal situation is not the overriding factor. The overriding factor is one of right and wrong, rather than legal and illegal. To Christians, homosexual activity (indeed, any kind of sexual activity outside marriage) has the same status as lying, littering, murder, the worship of idols, lust, and pride. Some of these are legal. Some of them are even “normal” in the sense that they are considered acceptable behaviour by a great many people. But they are all sinful. In attempting to keep their house righteous, the Bulls have done nothing that I can see as particularly exceptionable. That their choice has been deemed to be against the law is staggering, and bodes ill for our society.

    One or two people have suggested that Joseph and Mary would have been turned away by the Bulls. I disagree. The same God who wants us to live righteous lives also wants us to be compassionate, and to turn away a heavily pregnant woman, present by necessity rather than by choice, and with nowhere else to stay, would not be compassionate. Turning away a couple of holidaymakers is not the same thing at all.

    Compassion is an intrinsic part of righteousness.

  350. DanJ0:

    Richard: “To Christians, homosexual activity (indeed, any kind of sexual activity outside marriage) has the same status as lying, littering, murder, the worship of idols, lust, and pride. ”

    Well, yes, I appreciate the difference although I know a number of Christians who think that all relationships based on ‘agape’ type of love rather than ‘pornea’ are righteous and find that to be more in accord with their idea of god’s nature. The small number of passages in the Bible are not definitive on this topic, I’d argue, and ought to be read in their historical and cultural context.

    As for keeping their house righteous, I think one could argue that ‘house’ in this case means ‘home’ and a ‘home’ has conceptual boundaries akin to a ‘community’. I’ve had lengthy discussions with a Christian colleague about the valid reach of a Christian community’s regulation. Admittedly, he was more oriented towards cell churches rather than an institutional church.

    He used to wonder what the point is of trying to extend Christian morality over people who simply do not accept the most fundamental premise of it: that right and wrong comes from the Christian god. As he said, the intended recipients of Paul’s letters were Christian proto-communities, not the general public. He also thought that whilst pointing out ‘sin’ was an edifying activity within a community if done with love, pointing out ‘sinful activity’ to people outside the community works in the opposite way for everyone. That is, one ends up sounding like a Pharisee/Scribe and risks putting potential Christians off Christianity.

  351. Justin:

    Richard –
    If the Bulls think as you do, that all homosexual ‘activity’ (by which you presumably mean sex and not baking scones or arranging flowers?) is sinful, then why didn’t they plead guilty to the charges against them and why are they appealing against the predictable finding? It seems that this set of beliefs is simply at odds with the law, so why not just accept that rather than attempting to wriggle out of it?

    It seems that devout Christians such as the Bulls simply cannot run a hotel and stay within the law if they wish to remain true to their beliefs. Why not just accept the conflict of responsibilities?

  352. Sophie:

    @ Justin: You write: “It seems that devout Christians such as the Bulls simply cannot run a hotel and stay within the law if they wish to remain true to their beliefs. Why not just accept the conflict of responsibilities?”

    This, to my mind, is a key question. There are many ways of making a living which are reputable, legal but likely to conflict with religious beliefs. An obvious example would be an observant Jew refusing a job with a pork butcher.

    It strikes me that the hotel industry was a very shortsighted choice for people unprepared to allow unmarried couples to share a bed. There are suggestions that the Bulls were not as fussy as they claim about checking the marital status of heterosexual couples. Dorothy’s account of her stay at the B&B is plausible (see Tom’s post and link, December 16th, 2010 at 6:55 pm.)

    The outcome of this case was inevitable (my post dated December 11th, 2010 at 3:52 pm.) I feel some sympathy for the Bulls, but the people most to blame in this are the CLC, who take and fund these unwinnable cases and, in this instance, took an elderly couple through all the stress of a trial just to promote the CLC’s agenda. I would be interested to know exactly how the Bull’s legal team presented the purpose and expected outcome of this case to their clients.

    @ Richard: You write: “To Christians, homosexual activity (indeed, any kind of sexual activity outside marriage) has the same status as lying, littering, murder, the worship of idols, lust, and pride. Some of these are legal. Some of them are even “normal” in the sense that they are considered acceptable behaviour by a great many people. But they are all sinful.”

    I dispute this. You need to add the word “some” so that the sentence reads “To some Christians, homosexual activity… has the same status as lying, littering, murder, the worship of idols, lust, and pride.”

    You may disagree with Christians who see civil partnerships as equivalent to marriage, who would like to see gay marriages celebrated in church, and who support loving committed couples regardless of gender. What you can’t do is act – or speak – as though we don’t exist.

    Your conflation of murder and littering is amusing but, when I follow your argument to its logical end, I realise that Christian hoteliers would be able to rent rooms only to those without sin. This is truly absurd. Anger, gluttony, littering… Using your argument the Bulls could never rent a room: not until the Second Coming would they find an acceptable tenant.

  353. Richard:

    @ Sophie: I, too, think the outcome of the case was inevitable, because Christians’ rights not to be religiously discriminated against come a poor second to the homosexual agenda.

    Christians (lit. “little Christs”, originally used as an insult) are those who seek to follow Christ, the “Logos”, the Word of God made flesh (cf John 1). I don’t see how anyone who doesn’t accept the Word of God can reasonably be described as a Christian. This is not an attack on anyone, merely a dispute over terminology. Since a Christian who doesn’t accept the Bible is, to me, a logical contradiction, I don’t see why I can’t speak as though no such creature exists.

    Your last point is a very important one, and you’ve put your finger on the reason for my being unsure about whether the Bulls acted wisely. It is impossible to police the behaviour of one’s guests without subjecting them to unwarranted surveillance. Imagine an accountant checking into their B&B and then spending a happy weekend working out how to evade his taxes. Is that okay by the Bulls, just because they don’t know about it? If so, it smacks of hypocrisy, albeit probably thoughtless rather than conscious in nature.

  354. DanJ0:

    Richard: “cause Christians’ rights not to be religiously discriminated against come a poor second to the homosexual agenda.”

    That’s mostly because people talk too loosely about rights without being clear about what rights, and against whom, and balanced against what.

    For example, a gay B&B owner is not allowed to turn away Christian guests simply for being Christian. Hey, look! The Christians win out on that one. No victims there, nothing to see.

    Here’s another. A white B&B owner is not allowed to turn away black or Asian guests simply for being not white. The racist’s right to hold racist beliefs comes a poor second to the ethnicity agenda [1].

    [1] Like the ‘homosexual agenda’ where homosexuals expect to be treated just like heterosexuals where sexual orientation is irrelevant, the ‘ethnic agenda’ is where ethnic people expect to be treated just like white people where ethnicity is irrelevant. That is: there is no agenda other than an expectation of a lack of unjust discrimination.

  355. Neutral:

    @ Sophie.
    “Your conflation of murder and littering is amusing but, when I follow your argument to its logical end, I realise that Christian hoteliers would be able to rent rooms only to those without sin. This is truly absurd. Anger, gluttony, littering… Using your argument the Bulls could never rent a room: not until the Second Coming would they find an acceptable tenant.”

    I think you just sumed up in a nutshell why Religion in any form should not (and is not) above the law which applies to running a business.

  356. Sophie:

    @ Richard: You write: I don’t see how anyone who doesn’t accept the Word of God can reasonably be described as a Christian. This is not an attack on anyone, merely a dispute over terminology. Since a Christian who doesn’t accept the Bible is, to me, a logical contradiction, I don’t see why I can’t speak as though no such creature exists.

    This may come as a shock but it’s actually not down to you to decide who is and who is not a Christian. Your remarks about the Bible make the fundamental fundamentalist error so well-described in the New Oxonian Blog:

    “To be a fundamentalist, you have to have a book. And you have to forget the book has a history.”

  357. Richard:

    @DanJo: you are describing a false “equality”, along the lines of “lions are allowed to stalk, hunt, and eat zebras, but that’s balanced out by the fact that zebras are allowed to stalk, hunt and eat lions”. If I were turned away from a B&B because of my faith, I would simply go and find another B&B. I wouldn’t sue someone for refusing to allow me into their house. How ridiculous!

    @Sophie: you can use the word “Christian” however you like. And I’ll use it however I like. As long as we both know that we mean different things by the word, I don’t see a problem, do you?

  358. Tom:

    “As long as we both know that we mean different things by the word, I don’t see a problem, do you?”

    Isn’t the problem with all the rest of us who don’t know how you are self-defining the word, Richard? So when Andrea Minichiello Williams says that Christians are being persecuted in this country lots of Daily Mail readers begin to believe the hype, even though a majority of Christians who don’t support her extreme views don’t get heard above the noisy few with a few privileged backers like My Lords Carey, Scott-Joynt and Nazir-Ali.

  359. DanJ0:

    Richard: “If I were turned away from a B&B because of my faith, I would simply go and find another B&B. I wouldn’t sue someone for refusing to allow me into their house. How ridiculous!”

    Not their house, their business. Some Christians seem quite unable to recognise that distinction for some reason. The distinction being inconvenient to their arguments, I suppose.

    In the 1950s and 1960s, some B&B owners famously put signs saying “No Blacks, No Irish, No dogs” in their windows. Should we expect black people or Irish people simply to find a less racist hotel? Is it ridiculous of people to refuse to put up with that? Well, perhaps you think so but I certainly don’t.

    Of course, racist hotel owners still exist and no doubt turn their nose up at black or Irish customers. But if they turn them away then they do so in the face of strong social disapprobation, and must do it slyly if they wish to avoid bad publicity and a fine.

    Racists may hold their racist beliefs about non-white people as they see fit, and some Christians may hold their religious beliefs about gay people as they see fit. Of course they can because, despite Goy’s unfounded assertions, we don’t have thought crime in the UK. But acting on those beliefs in the regulated area of public space is a different matter.

    However, if black racists think they can refuse employment to a white man simply for being white, or white racists think they can refuse to supply goods and services to a black man simply for being black, or some Christians think they can refuse to supply goods and services to a gay man simply for being gay, or a misogynist thinks he can limit the promotion of a woman in a company simply for being a woman then they’re potentially in for a surprise at some point.

    Why should black people search for non-racists in order to be treated like any other person? Why should gay people check whether hotels are run by Christians before booking? Why should women accept that their abilities in a company don’t count the same as a man’s? It’s not ridiculous and they’re not just making a silly fuss about nothing, it’s unjust discrimination and it’s socially corrosive and it’s wrong.

  360. Randal Oulton:

    In leaving this thread, I’d like to declare myself as a gay Canadian Anglican not willing to cede his place in the church. Thanks all for a very civil discussion! I appreciate it!

    In our Anglican church in Second Life we recently remembered the life of Martin Luther King Jr, so I’d like to leave with his words to all my LGBT sisters and brothers.

    “We shall overcome; deep in my heart I do believe, we shall overcome. We may have tears in our eyes, but we shall overcome. Some of us may lose jobs; some of us may be thrown in jail. Before the victory is won, some of us may be dismissed as rabal rousers and agitators. Some of us may have to face physical death. But deep in my heart I do believe, we shall overcome. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. We will go out and bring new light. We will rise from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope and we will be the participants in making it so. Truth will rise. God keeps watch on his own. Walk together children; don’t get weary; we shall overcome.”

    Amen. We shall overcome.

  361. Randal Oulton:

    “We are not afraid, oh Lord, not afraid, not afraid, today, oh Lord
    Deep in my heart I know that I do believe
    We shall overcome some day.
    We shall overcome, oh Lord, oh Lord, overcome, some day.
    Deep in my heart I know that I do believe
    We shall overcome some day.”

    Joan Baez. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkNsEH1GD7Q

  362. Richard:

    The comparison with racism is wrong-headed.

    Racism is wrong because it penalises people for a fact of their existence that they can do nothing about. You can’t change the colour of your skin.

    Sex discrimination is wrong for the same reason. You can’t change your sex (at least, not without some rather intrusive surgery!).

    Penalising someone for being part of a group that they didn’t choose to join is a terrible thing to do.

    But people’s decision to sin is a conscious choice. A child doesn’t lie to his parents about the broken window because he’s genetically disposed to lying, but because he doesn’t want to be punished. He could choose not to lie. An employer doesn’t overwork his employees because he’s biologically programmed to, but because he wants to maximise his profits. He could choose not to overwork his employees.

    And a man who engages in sexual activity with another man, or with a woman who is not his wife, could choose not to do that. In making the choice to sin, he becomes sinful.

    It is not blacks or women or Irish that the Bulls were turning away, but sinners.

    And therein lies the futility of it – because we’re all sinners. A B&B that will only serve the sinless is catering to a niche market, to say the least!

  363. Neutral:

    @Richard

    Choice? Aside from the arrogant and homophobic view that you have there, it’;s not as simple as you make out.

    If were all on a level playing fuield, and all gay men and all staright fancied girls, … and then the gay men ‘choose’ to go with men instead. That’s a choice.

    But, it’s not like that. There is a reason men are Gay. It’s because unlike straight men they do not like women in the first place to ‘choose’ men over. There is no choice.

    (and then there are the raft of people who do choose, but that’s a whole different issue)

    But, most imporatntly. who is anyone to say it’s sinful? Just because your book written thousands of years ago says it so? Well, quite frankly, that book is a work of fiction as much as anything, and holds no authority.

  364. DanJ0:

    Richard: “And a man who engages in sexual activity with another man, or with a woman who is not his wife, could choose not to do that. In making the choice to sin, he becomes sinful.”

    But the laws of this country are not made according to the Christian Bible. Homosexual behaviour is not inherently sinful in the eyes of the law. In essence, it’s just like heterosexual behaviour.

    Racism is a belief or habit, just like your Christianity. If Christians can discriminate in these situations then why not racists? You’re focusing on the target, making irrelevant distinctions between being and doing based on your own beliefs, rather than focusing on the original beliefs.

    Here’s a thing. What if society decides that acting on your beliefs is sinful and that it will not put up with it. That you can hold them but not act on them. That is, you can be but not do. Where does that leave you? You can hardly complain that you simply don’t accept that it is a sin. That’s the defence of non-Christian gay people. Just like black people don’t accept that being black in the UK is wrong.

    We don’t accept homosexual behaviour is a sin either. I’m not a Christian and your beliefs have no meaning to me. I don’t have to live according to your Christian beliefs but we have to interact in the public space nonetheless. Luckily, the law is not made using arguments about what is sinful or not. No, it is made using core values and considering the harm some actions cause to others.

    So, back to the targets of racists and some Christians. Being black, or having a gay sex life, causes no harm. However, what does cause harm is discrimination against classes of people which causes systematic disadvantage to them. Hence, we have anti-discrimination laws which seek to remove those disadvantages for a better, more just, and smoother-running society. Hard luck.

  365. Richard:

    @Neutral – my view is neither arrogant nor homophobic. I am not responsible for your misreading of my view.

    On a Web site with a name like “echurchwebsites”, it is reasonable to assume that God is “anyone to say it’s sinful”.

    If you think the Bible holds no authority, that’s up to you, of course. I wish you well, but I have no desire to waste my time debating with people whose basic conceptions are so different from my own. To clarify: when people have a basic worldview in common, their debates are purposeful because they work from shared assumptions, and can thus reach meaningful conclusions. When, however, we cannot even agree on such (to me) obvious concepts as the authority of the Bible and the reality of sin, I see no future in our discussions. You can’t get very far with A and B therefore C, when we’re bickering about A and at loggerheads about B.

  366. Maciek:

    I am so sorry to hear of the plight of Peter & Hazlemary. The biblical standards on which many of our laws were based are being eroded rapidly, and our society is paying the price in terms of the increase of lawlessness. Peter and Hazlemary have shown great integrity in the way that they have run their guesthouse. I am confident that they will receive their reward from the God who sees what goes on and protects His servants.

  367. Justin:

    @Richard. I accept that the Bulls used their Christian understanding of sin to decide who they wished to turn away from their guesthouse, or what size of bed they would allow them to sleep in and with whom. But do you accept that this unfortunately, but very predictably, put them in very contravention of the law?

    @Maciek. Thank goodness the Bible is not referred to when drafting discrimination laws.

  368. Richard:

    @Justin – I think the legal outcome was inevitable, yes.

    The Bible calls upon us to respect proper authority. But when the law goes against God, Christians must follow God, not the law. If that means we end up in prison, so be it. But if we’re going to be imprisoned, let it be because we have been too loving, too joyful, too peaceful, too patient, too kind, too good, too faithful, too gentle, too self-controlled.

  369. Sophie:

    @ Richard: You write “you can use the word “Christian” however you like. And I’ll use it however I like. As long as we both know that we mean different things by the word, I don’t see a problem, do you?”

    I’m happy with that – I work on this basis all the time. You’d have to be very sheltered not to know how varied Christian belief can be. There are gay bishops at one end, while at the other there are those who support the death penalty for gay sex. Even here there are wildly different views, but if a poster declares themselves Christian it’s not my place to contradict them, however unChristian their views may seem to me.

  370. Richard:

    @Sophie: you can contradict anyone you like. If you choose not to, that’s your choice.

    The two “ends” you describe sound equally unChristian to me.

  371. DanJ0:

    I rather like Christina Patterson’s comment in her article on the Independent where she says: “If you have very strong feelings about other people’s sexual behaviour, then you should probably choose a business that doesn’t focus quite so heavily on beds.” :)

  372. Richard:

    @DanJo: :-)

    She does have a point, doesn’t she?

    To drift slightly away from the specific case of the Bulls, though, I do think it ought to be possible for Xs to run X businesses for the benefit of Xs (whatever X might be, within reason), without being accused of discriminating against non-Xs. For example, if a Buddhist carpenter wants to make Buddhist furniture for sale only to Buddhists, why on earth shouldn’t he (or she) be allowed to do that?

  373. Goy:

    If you have very strong feelings about other people’s religious behaviour, then you should probably choose a business that doesn’t focus quite so heavily on Christianity. :)

  374. Sophie:

    @ DanJo: There’s a suggestion, supported by the web archives, that the Bulls weren’t quite as interested in the marital status of straight couples as they claimed in court. Of course, the Bulls were quite within their rights to assume, out of sheer Christian charity, that any male/female couple must be married. You’re hardly likely to require them to prove it. Not if you want to stay in business. But you can’t make the same cosy assumption about a same sex couple, who can’t be married: at least not yet. It’s ironic that the gay couple were civilly partnered, while some of their straight guests are bound to have been not only unmarried but adulterous.

    Adultery causes heartbreak and hugely damages children. It causes immense misery. It seems to me plain wrong to hear so many Christians all steamed up about the perceived sin of a loving monogamous gay union while never a word is said on adultery, which is more common but incomparable more damaging.

  375. Sophie:

    @ DanJo: I have to give you a bouquet – only a verbal one, but sincere. You write so well. And you write well so often.

    Why should black people search for non-racists in order to be treated like any other person? Why should gay people check whether hotels are run by Christians before booking? Why should women accept that their abilities in a company don’t count the same as a man’s? It’s not ridiculous and they’re not just making a silly fuss about nothing, it’s unjust discrimination and it’s socially corrosive and it’s wrong.

    Superbly put. There are many other examples. I particularly like …there is no agenda other than an expectation of a lack of unjust discrimination.

    @ Richard: I also love your sentence But if we’re going to be imprisoned, let it be because we have been too loving, too joyful, too peaceful, too patient, too kind, too good, too faithful, too gentle, too self-controlled.

    I do wish the CLC would see things your way. None of the cases they’ve taken up so far could be described like that, and in two it’s emerged that the CLC’s “persecuted” client had been the cause of considerable inexcusable distress to people who were gravely ill. Of course the Bulls didn’t face prison, and they won’t have to pay any of the costs, but the court case must still have been a stressful experience for everyone. It was clear from the off what the outcome must be (the judgement is very short and to the point on the legal findings) but in the service of the CLC’s militant agenda both the Bulls and the innocent gay couple endured the ordeal of an unnecessary hearing.

  376. DanJ0:

    Sophie: “I have to give you a bouquet – only a verbal one, but sincere. You write so well. And you write well so often.”

    *blush*

    Not that I’m qualified to judge but your Christianity seems to shine out of you. :)

  377. Goy:

    The Christian hotelier found guilty of gay bias looks set to lose her home and asks: So who’s really being persecuted?

    The average man on the street will view this case as a campaign of hate based on a much bigger political agenda, right now I imagine the not welcome signs are going up all over the UK in peoples minds.

  378. DanJ0:

    On the positive side, that’s the Daily Mail which most intelligent, balanced people treat as a joke. Luckily, the only people the sob story they have written will rile up will be the sort of people who buy commemorative plates, and mail-order sheds. So, not to worry there.

    I actually feel quite sorry for the Bulls. They should have told the CLC to foxtrot oscar and talked to a sympathetic and tolerant vicar who probably would have explained that they could be righteous in their home whilst being tolerant and law-abiding in their business.

    One bizarre thing in this: they’re aged 66 and 71 and they have a £2800 a month mortgage? Who sold them that?! Northern Rock? That’s one constructive thing the CLC can do: help them make a claim for being mis-sold their mortgage. Moreover, if their story is illiciting the nationwide sympathy suggested then I’m sure they can expect a torrent of donations from Church groups all over.

  379. DanJ0:

    ^eliciting. I despair sometimes. It’s like dyslexia or something. :(

  380. Erica:

    Hello. What an engrossing blog, and good discussion. It’s nice to see genuine, loving, inclusive Christians holding their own against the more fundamentalist and judgmental kind.

    As for where the old couple’s money has gone (DanJo, above), I’ve noticed increasingly these new evangelical charismatic “cell” churches on the American model springing up, where an increasingly rich pastor, often driving a Mercedes, persuades people to part with huge amounts of money each month as a tithe. I don’t know if they belong to anything like that, but it may be one possible explanation. Every time I watch God TV I feel sorry for little old ladies being harangued into sending in their savings during all too regular mission weeks, I wonder if the same thing is happening around the country to nice people like this.

  381. Sparkie10:

    I find this whole thing terrible for the Bulls – they state that they could offer ‘twin’ room so why didnt those homosexuals accept the room then when the door was closed push the beds together??? no they knew what they were doing. I have worked with the likes of those and they do go out of their way to sue and seek compensation for hurt feelings. As a Christian their acts are immoral and unprogressyive, they are a minority yet we are punished for upholding our religious beliefs.

  382. Tom:

    “…I do think it ought to be possible for Xs to run X businesses for the benefit of Xs…”

    Yes, so do I, Richard. Call it a Christian guest house and only admit Christians, just like a retreat house would expect all the retreatants to be Christian or Buddhist or whatever the retreat house was dedicated. However that is not what the Bulls were running. They were running a 7-room public hotel with adjacent living quarters. A house is not necessarily a home – or only a part of it is – if rooms are for sale.

  383. Erica:

    Sparkie I wondered about that to, but on checking the facts found that the Bulls gave evidence to the Court that there were no other rooms available, so the gay pair were left with no accommodation, having already paid a deposit. The police helped them to find alternative accommodation. So actually you are being unfair to the gay pair without checking the facts.

  384. Erica:

    Sparkie, here is what the judge said on your point:

    “16. In the course of their evidence the defendants [ the Bulls] and Mr Quinn [the manager] were not wholly clear as to the position if the claimants had booked a twin bedded room. However the amended defence does clearly set out their position as does paragraph 23 of Mrs Bull’s statement (page 36 of the bundle) and resolves, at least for me, any uncertainty in the evidence.

    17. Paragraphs 4 and 14 the Amended Defence clearly state that while the supply of a double bedroom would involve the defendants in the promotion of what they regard as a sin, the supply of a single or twin bedded room would not and they would have been willing to supply such rooms had they been available, which they were not.”

  385. Lets face it...:

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10
    Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    We live in a culture of accepting peoples way of life, the choices they make and how they present themselves as people. Scattered among that culture are people like the Bulls who choose to live by the rules of the bible. Therefore turning away those they perceive to be living in sin, or acting out in sinful ways, is now seen as breaking the law when they try to uphold their Christian morality.

    The law has decided that the Bulls acted wrongly. I ask myself just who has benefited from this charade played out in the public. It is almost back to the age when Christians were persecuted for their beliefs.

    What I question above all is that upon booking the room, it would have been clear to the hotel that 2 people, male would have been staying. I do not believe for one moment they allowed the booking to go ahead without knowing the name of the other occupant. Try booking anywhere in the UK, you have to give the names of everyone who will be staying during the holiday. It then begs the question as to why a twin room wasn’t offered at the time of the booking.

    A couple chose to run a business, and within that business chose to uphold Christian morals when it came to whom should share a marital bed.

    Two men decide to book a room there, in my belief, knowing full well exactly what they were doing, and in doing so tried to create as much publicity for themselves in the process. They suceeded.

  386. DanJ0:

    “I ask myself just who has benefited from this charade played out in the public.”

    The CLC. And the Daily Mail by the look of it.

    “It is almost back to the age when Christians were persecuted for their beliefs.”

    On the positive side, it’s another move away from the age where gay people were murdered by the State or imprisoned for being gay.

    “Try booking anywhere in the UK, you have to give the names of everyone who will be staying during the holiday.”

    I book hotels once a month or so. That’s simply not true.

  387. DanJ0:

    Try it for yourself:

    http://www.premierinn.com/en/

    Book a double room for 2 adults. It just asks for one name with these words:

    “Please enter the name of a main occupant for each room you have booked or select a name you have stored from previous visits.”

    You can get to this point without entering card details.

  388. Lets face it...:

    Why do you care? lol

  389. Erica:

    “Letsfaceit”, Perhaps because you and others are hurting the image of Christianity and turning it into a dirty word in the minds of many, by using lies and deception, innuendo and mean spiritedness to achieve your aims.

  390. DanJ0:

    By the way, I notice that in addition to my horrendous typos I am still incorrectly using CLC instead of CI when talking about this case. Sorry. Christian Concern / Christian Legal Centre and Christian Institute seem to get muddled up in my head. Mostly because they all seem to be doing the same sort of stuff to me. I suppose the CI and CC / CLC should at least be pleased that I don’t mixed them up with CV i.e. Christian Voice. As far as I know, they’re not connected at all.

  391. Sophie:

    @ Sparkie10 & Lets face it…: Both of you have posted maligning the gay couple.

    Sparkie wrote “they knew what they were doing. I have worked with the likes of those and they do go out of their way to sue and seek compensation for hurt feelings.”

    Lets face it… wrote: “Two men decide to book a room there, in my belief, knowing full well exactly what they were doing, and in doing so tried to create as much publicity for themselves in the process. They suceeded.”

    This is the sort of thing that was being put about by the Bull’s supporters before the trial. But the trial is over now.

    I ask each of you, in simple fairness and as Christians, that you take the time to read the judgment (link), where the evidence is considered. It’s not a very long document but it spells out the fact that none of the slurs you make against the gay couple are true. It’s very well written, incidentally, so no chore to read.

    In point 9, the judge writes “The facts are not really in dispute. There was a time when I thought that they might be, not least from some of the press reports prior to the hearing, but as the case progressed it became clear that there was no real dispute. In one sense it was a pleasure to try this case because I formed the view that none of the 5 witnesses was trying to deliberately mislead the court.”

    In his decision, judge concluded “it is clearly in my view the case that each side hold perfectly honourable and respectable, albeit wholly contrary, views.”

  392. Simian:

    What would we do without you Sophie! :-)
    Isn’t it about time to bring this thread to an end…
    Why on Earth does this issue always so polarise people’s views, whilst many more fundamental isssues for all Christians fail to cause a ripple of interest?
    There’s so much more going on out there worthy of people’s time and consideration.

  393. Gwyndaf Hughes:

    We salute the Bull family for their lone stand against these arrogant sodomites and their ilk. They were clearly targetted by the homosexual brigade. I should NOT like to be in the shoes of these two homosexual evil-doers, and all the compo in the world could alter that.

    Harridan Harriet – hang your smug head in shame.

  394. Tom:

    Sophie, is there an emoticon for a raspberry? :-)

  395. Sophie:

    @ Simian: There are umpteen more important things. We don’t have to buy into the CLC’s persecution narrative. The more of these phoney cases we see the less convincing the CLC’s posturing becomes. As our webmaster keeps reminding us, Christians are genuinely being persecuted in other lands, terrified, even murdered, though there’s not much we can do, practically speaking.

    Closer to home, the economy with its cuts and youth unemployment is a big concern, and Christians have a lot to contribute by reminding people that they are valuable and important whether employed or not. Self-worth shouldn’t be about cash. The injustice faced by carers and the sick or disabled has been prominent recently: Christianity is about social justice, about caring for the poor, the dispossessed and sick. I’ve have been considering whether I can volunteer. With my son’s health the way it is, it’d have to be super-flexible as I can never predict when I’ll be free. Cancelling things is a way of life. :-(

    The glorification of unbridled capital, of wealth and display, is a real evil. And we witter on about what appear to be two perfectly nice couples. OK, the Bulls broke the law, but they didn’t kill anyone, and neither did Martin Hall or Stephen Preddy.

  396. Sophie:

    @ Tom: I’ve found a link that suggests : then P, or : then – then r. Be warned, there’s some adult content on the link – some of these emoticons are rude!

    I’ll try them to see what the webmaster’s blog software makes of them:

    :P or :-P

    :-r

  397. Sophie:

    @ Tom: So that doesn’t work… I guess you could try :=P, using “=” for the nose, in the hope that the software won’t turn it into a smiley.

    @ Webmaster: Any thoughts, esteemed one?

  398. Webmaster:

    Here’s a list for you:

    http://codex.wordpress.org/Using_Smilies

    All of these should work in theory.

  399. Webmaster:

    Hmm:

    Homosexuals try to crush Christian B&B

  400. DanJ0:

    The behaviour there is outrageous. It just goes to prove, as though we didn’t already know it anyway, that there are vile people on all sides of this story. Sad to say too but this was predictable.

  401. Tom:

    Sophie you answered Simian about how we don’t have to buy into CLC’s persecution narrative so I thought you might be interested in this exchange I had with Peter Ould. Withe the Webmaster’s permission I’ll paste it all to save having to send you over to the site to look it up. Here we go:

    Tom
    Peter Ould said: “McFarlane was a non case to start with, as he was not consistent in his exercising of his choice of who to counsel. He should have only counselled married couples to be consistent as a “Christian” sex counsellor. Counselling unmarried straight couples but not gay couples utterly undermined his “faith” position.”

    I wish you tell that to Andrea Minichiello Williams at the CLC and Lord Carey.
    ?

    Peter Ould
    ?The CLC have a very good team of lawyers who seem to be working on the basis of the “rights conflict” argument. From that perspective I can fully understand why they backed Gary McFarlane. The strategy seems to be to keep on fighting these cases to give the continued public impression of christians’ rights being trampled on. Then, along comes a case like the Bulls’ which is a very clear example of private citizens’ rights in conflict, and they can then take it all the way up. ??

    Tom
    To give the impression that Christians’ rights are being trampled on? Even if they are not? Sounds more like Niccolo Machiavelli than Jesus Christ. ……….Or does it make them fools for Christ’s sake? Andrea Minichiello Williams’s CLC has never won one of these cases as far as I know. ??

    Peter Ould
    ?I’m not sure it’s a case of giving the impression to try and manipulate opinion, Rather, they have chosen to defend down a particular line of argument (the conflict of rights). In that sense, it doesn’t actually matter if a few cases are lost because it is the momentum of the argument that is important. At some point one of these cases (and the Bulls is a good case for this because unlike the others it involves the interaction of private citizens and NOT representatives of the State) will go to our new Supreme Court and even beyond. When that happens, the weight of previous cases will begin to bear. ?

  402. Tom:

    The story on the Christian Institute’s website gives pause for thought but I’d still take it with two grains of salt. Hazelmary made a point of mentioning her husband’s surgery in giving her reaction to the judge’s ruling and ended by saying “Some people seem to be more equal than others”. So I don’t think she and the CI are beyond milking this for the emotional angle. I don’t necessarily disbelieve that some nasty person rang her up – but as for the house number being inundated……… There are such things as mobile phones, you know. Sorry if that looks hard-hearted, but we’ve seen how the CLC is prepared to employ exaggeration, if not exactly lying for the Lord, a kind of Christianist taqia?

  403. Tom:

    Thanks Webmaster for the list of emoticons. Of course it word be nice if the raspberry emoticon actually blew the sound of one too! :roll:

  404. DanJ0:

    “The strategy seems to be to keep on fighting these cases to give the continued public impression of christians’ rights being trampled on.”

    It seems to work too.

    I regularly despair when I read some of the comments on newspaper sites.

  405. Goy:

    @Tom,

    Taqia – congratulations on learning the new word from your handlers at the local mosque.

  406. Elaine Brennan:

    @Danjo: You said: The behaviour there is outrageous. It just goes to prove, as though we didn’t already know it anyway, that there are vile people on all sides of this story. Sad to say too but this was predictable.

    We just have to be glad that the eye of the law can separate the behaviour of others around the case from what happened between the people in the case and that people continue to be treated as individuals not tarred by the same brush as others that have gone before them.

  407. DanJ0:

    Elaine, yes, quite.

    The reporting after this case has been awful. I’ve no doubt Hazelmary Bull is very unhappy about the result (though I don’t see what else she could have expected) and the health of her husband must be a dreadful worry too. I expect she feels like a victim and was possibly encouraged to feel that way by the people around her. But none of that is not the fault of the gay couple as this case was set in motion two years ago. I was aghast at the story in the Daily Mail even knowing the style of that newspaper. They *used* Mrs Bull, even if they did perhaps pay her for her story, and I doubt she has come out better for it. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the gay couple were not also subject to hate mail and similar stuff. All that said, I suppose it is possible that the people ringing to make malicious bookings think they’re being ‘clever’ without realising that there are potentially hundreds of people thinking and doing the same thing. This story is much bigger than the people involved and there are a lot of vested interests here but I truly hope the couple are left alone in peace now to recover and plan their future. Their part is done in this.

  408. Goy:

    @DanJO,

    truly hope the couple are left alone in peace now to recover and plan their future.

    No Danjo you cant say that you got the outcome of what you supported in the Bull’s pound of equality flesh, lost the stomach for the fight?

  409. Tom:

    Webmaster

    I have been very impressed with the standard of debate on tis blog because people generally treat each other with respect even if they disagree. I think it would be a pity if the level of debate were dragged down by such absurd accusations that people cannot think for themselves or have “handlers” who are controlling their thoughts, are crypto-islamists or marxists, leftists and so on. If it is goes on it will be the ruination of this as a forum for reasoned discussion which would be a real pity.

  410. DanJ0:

    Goy: “No Danjo you cant say that you got the outcome of what you supported in the Bull’s pound of equality flesh, lost the stomach for the fight?”

    I’m very pleased with the outcome of the case. I’d be interested in the outcome of it goes to appeal too. I think the Bulls were naive and I think they’re wrong. I also suspect they were used against their best interests by people who ought to know and behave better.

    Do I want them to suffer now? Certainly not. At the end of the day, no-one was harmed, just offended and inconvenienced. The gay couple were the victims of injustice which needed to be righted as a matter of principle. If I were one of that gay couple now then I’d contact the Bulls and pass up on the right to the awarded compensation given their current circumstances. Moreover, I’d do it and keep quiet about it.

  411. DanJ0:

    Can I just post a spoof link about the Daily Mail after their latest offering?

    Real:

    http://newsthump.com/2011/01/24/gay-queer-homo-bender-faggot-claims-daily-mail/

    Spoof:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1349951/Gayness-mandatory-schools-Gay-victims-prejudice-new-McCarthyites.html

    Hold on, have I got that the right way around ? :)

  412. Simian:

    Tom. The people you speak of have been around a very long time and this blog goes from strength to strength. I’ve found the answer is to politely ignore people if they refuse to engage in reasoned argument. We just live with it.

  413. Simian:

    Danjo,
    Great spoof! Love it! Thank you for brightening up a dull evening. :-)

  414. Tom:

    Thanks for the tip Simian. I wondered if the blog was under some kind of concerted attack to put off sensible debate. Being a newcomer I didn’t know they were part of the scene.

  415. Richard:

    Whilst a mobile phone is indeed the obvious, jumps-out-at-you, “why don’t they just…” answer to the Bulls’ dilemma, I see two problems with it.

    Firstly, money is obviously very tight for the Bulls right now. I am fortunate to be in a position where, if I find it expedient to possess a(nother) mobile phone, I can just go out and buy one. But, on the other hand, I know what it’s like to have literally no money at all (for several weeks, in my case). I don’t suppose the Bulls are quite in that position yet, but when money is tight, the acquisition of a new possession with high running costs is not the most tempting of propositions!

    The second problem with the “solution” is not a matter for the Bulls, but a matter for the rest of us. What kind of a sick society is this, where a little old lady is bombarded with hate calls just for doing her best to run her house (okay, so it’s a business, I accept that, but clearly she sees it as her house) according to Biblical principles. Why should she be forced to get a mobile phone? That’s a stopgap solution at best. When the loonies discover that number, what is she to do? Buy another? And then another?

    No, the real solution is for society to change. And you can’t change society without first changing people. When people are more loving, more joyful, more peaceful, more patient, kinder, and so on… then there will be no need for her to have an alternative phone number.

    In short, this society would be greatly improved if more of us followed the teaching and example of Jesus Christ.

    @austin: your claim that the Bulls’ religion has nothing to do with the law is deeply flawed. Constitutionally, no law can be passed in the UK without the signature of the reigning monarch (this is called “Royal Assent”). On accession, the monarch must make a declaration “solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God” that they are a “faithful Protestant”. If they cannot make this declaration, they cannot accede to the throne. That is, the law in this country requires that no bill can become law unless it is signed into law by a Christian. It’s a rubber stamp, of course – if the Queen were actually to refuse to sign a bill, it would provoke a constitutional crisis – but nevertheless the law of this country does at least in theory recognise the sovereignty of God.

    As for bigotry, you don’t need the Bulls to make you sound like a bigot from the Dark Ages. Your own words do that, when you dismiss the faith of millions so thoughtlessly.

    Jesus came to save not the righteous but sinners. When people become Christians, they don’t thereby become automatons or zombies – they retain free will, and can still make bad choices. Typically, Christians make better choices than they would have made before they became Christians, but this isn’t always the case, and so yes, we get priests who rape choirboys, and so on. Yes, that’s evil. Of course it is. But to dismiss Christ’s message because of such anomalies is silly. It’s a bit like ignoring the weather forecast because of that hurricane in 1987 that they forgot to mention. Yes, it was bad, but it was an anomaly.

    You are, however, right to mention the Dark Ages, for they are upon us once more. And, as before, the worst bigotry comes from those with political power. In the last dark age, bigots needing a power base flocked to the Church, because the Church had real temporal power. Nowadays, the real temporal power is in the hands of the politically correct lobby, and we can thus expect to find power-seeking bigots (ab)using political correctness to express their bigotry. For example, they can use it to run legal rings around an elderly couple who are just trying to honour God in their own house. Or they can use it to make hate calls. Or they can use it to turn mathematics lessons into grooming sessions.

    The Dark Ages are back. Be scared. Be very, very scared.

  416. Richard:

    @DanJo: “Intuitively, you’d think those better choices en masse would improve the background society.”

    They have done so. For example, we have Christians to thank for the abolition of slavery, for penal reform, for civil rights, and to some extent for our willingness to provide foreign aid.

    I think the effect would be far more noticeable, however – so noticeable that you wouldn’t need to ask the question – if (a) more people became Christians… it takes more than writing “C of E” on a census form!; and (b) our societal background were not on such a desperate downward trend. If society were more static by default, it would be easier to recognise the improvements brought by Christians.

    As for your second point, well, I find it as hard to comprehend as you do.

    Any sin involves turning away from God, because sin is disobedience to God. When one turns away from God, one has left the path of wisdom. When we are no longer focussed on God’s laws (viz. “love God, and love each other”, and here I read “love” as “be totally committed to the well-being of”), we are in danger of thinking of others not as people-to-be-loved but as things-to-be-manipulated. That is true for everybody, Christian and non-Christian alike, not just for renegade priests.

  417. Tom:

    Christianity or Christendom has been as totaletarian in its past as any other power. Some Christians worked for the abolition of slavery but many did not. Many Christians held slaves in South America and in the Southern States of America. Why else was there a civil war between the north and the south. I believe the north were more liberal (dirty word to some I know) than the south because it had a vested interest in cheap manpower for growing cotton.

    Richard I agree it is horrible if Hazelmary was bombarded with hate calls and this shouldn’t happen. But if you think Christians wouldn’t do such things think again. In an ideal world perhaps we wouldn’t even need equality legislation because in such a environment we wouldn’t judge others or try to control others or make them conform to our view of what is right and what is wrong. Actually it would not be a bad world if we all kept the five Buddhist precepts. Christianity is not unique in offering the Golden Rule : Do not do to others what you would not wish them to do to you. But as for Hazelmary being inundated, I repeat my point, the CI has form in this regard and will use any means to get people onside (including sometimes adjusting the 6th commandment to meet its needs).

  418. Tom:

    I do not have a pessimistic view of society even though at times it is tempting to believe everything is going to the dogs. I think generally society treats people better than it did in the “Good Old Days” when “everyone knew their station”. Of course there are abuses and some of the young seem quite feral and this is rarely corrected by parents. But the benefits of living in the 21st century rather than the 16th with all its medical advances, fairer treatment of minorities seems obvious. Would you really compare our society with the 16th century with all its religious wars in Europe, Richard, or to the Dark Ages (which were the ages of Christendom 5th to 15th centuries) after all?

  419. Webmaster:

    Gosh, this court case has cost the Christian Institute 45 grand already and that’s without the appeal:

    Video: Christian-run B&B to appeal double room case

  420. Sophie:

    @ Richard: I have been somewhat discouraged by my realisation that most of the great battles for social justice were neither initiated nor carried forward by the established church. Again and again, it seems the established church came round to the “revolutionary” point of view, but only once the battle was won.

    Martin Luther King was a Christian but was vehemently opposed by white churches and by those Christians in power in the American South, although white Christians elsewhere strongly supported his struggle. The Ku Klux Klan claim to be acting in the name of religion to this day.

    There are far more Biblical references that can be used to endorse slavery than the few verses used to condemn homosexuality, and the history of slavery and civil rights is full of examples of churches using these verses to teach that the status quo was God’s will. Later, the same white churches supported the Jim Crow laws and opposition to black equality. Both American slave owners and European slave traders were Christians. During a previous debate, a regular poster demonstrated that the Religious Right in the US has its roots in the Southern Christians’ fight against racial integration.

    William Wilberforce, I am very glad to say, was an Anglican.

    Although the suffragettes were Christians, the feminist struggle wasn’t promoted by the established church. Sadly, civil rights on the grounds of race, sex or sexual orientation have not been won because of the churches rather despite them. There have always been churches who fought against social justice. Indeed I first posted on this blog on a debate about the role of women, arguing the feminist case. It seems that religion has been used just as often to keep blacks and women “in their place” as to promote their equality.

    I find this disappointing, but it appears to be true. To compare today’s imperfect but noble aim of civil equality for all with the Dark Ages seems disproportionate to put it mildly.

  421. DanJ0:

    Tom, me neither. I think we’re extremely lucky to live in the UK today. I think it’s well worth travelling around the world off the tourist track to get a more balanced view of the UK. I’ve been to some very troubled and very poor places and I’ve come back feeling very guilty about how much we moan and feel doom and gloom about what is essentially haven of stability and affluence and tolerance.

    When the JWs used to turn up at my door, that was often their opening line: isn’t the state of the country terrible? They’re smart enough to know that people like to have a bit of a moan and they can insert their proselytising in on the back of that. They were completely thrown by my upbeat attitude. :)

    Btw, did I commit a terrible faux pas this morning in my post between the two of Richard’s up there so that it was deleted or has something technical failed? Obviously Richard saw it as he has replied to a bit of it. Perhaps I should check the email account I registered with here when I get home.

  422. DanJ0:

    Webmaster: “Gosh, this court case has cost the Christian Institute 45 grand already and that’s without the appeal”

    So, an appeal is going ahead. That’s quite interesting in light of that conversation snippet with P Ould. I can’t help feeling that the Bulls are being used, and possibly abused given the health issues, now. Didn’t Mrs B say she daren’t tell Mr B about the judgement until his health has improved because she fears for the effect on him?

    If the reports of the financial health of the business are accurate, rather than just a sympathy grab, then I suppose the business will be gone by the time the appeal is heard. It was described as a loss-making business with a hefty loan on it as I recall.

    Perhaps the Bulls don’t really need to be involved much at that level of the justice system? Perhaps it’ll be easier for them if the future of the business is no longer dependent on it? I welcome the idea of an appeal in principle as the process of resolving conflicts like this needs to be well understand. Even if the judgement is reversed, which I’d be surprised about, then it is basically a good thing.

  423. Sophie:

    @ DanJo & Tom: I am sure this is one of the best times to have been alive in human history and that we are particularly lucky to live in the UK.

    My stock answer to my kids when they whine “It’s not fair” is a brisk “Well thank God it isn’t, or we might have been born in the Sudan.”

  424. Tom:

    Are your kids convinced, Sophie? :-)

    I notice that the Chymorvah guest house is closed between Christmas and Easter so why is it said that the judgment has caused the Bulls almost financial ruin? The Christian Institute was picking up the bill for their legal costs. They have been in business since the 80s yet as DanJo pointed out, they still have a huge mortgage and they are in their 70s! Was the state of the business teetering long before all this, I wonder. Apparently when the gay men were refused the double-bedded room they would normally have been offered a twin-bedded room except that none was available so the hotel seemed to be taking bookings. All this makes me think the Bulls are really being used to push a point and the CI does not have their best interests at heart. Now they are to appeal, whose decision was that? Peter was too ill to be told the outcome – would he be in any state to embark on another legal battle. What if they lose the next round, will the CI encourage them it is their duty to fight it to the Supreme Court and even beyond to Europe?

  425. Sophie:

    @ Tom: I think they take in some of what I try to transmit. I deeply treasure the observation made by my older son:

    “I’ve got too many ethics, Mum, and it’s all your fault!”

    I noticed the financial oddities about this case too. The Daily Mail tells us that the Bulls bought the hotel in 1986 for £81,000, that it is now worth about £750,000 and that – and this is the really weird bit – they currently have a mortgage costing £2,800 a month.

    Who would give a couple this age a mortgage of this size and, having been in business in the property for so long, why would they need one? OK, you might remortgage to pay for improvements, but surely not to the tune of nearly £3k a month? It’s all very strange. As you say, the fact that no twin rooms were available on the night in question doesn’t make you think the hotel was struggling, though the reviews aren’t very encouraging.

    Mr & Mrs Bull have not been entirely honest, though. In court, as the judgment records, their argument was:

    “The defendants deny direct or indirect discrimination on the basis that the restriction on having a double room has nothing to do with sexual orientation but, as their counsel put it, everything to do with “sex”. They make the point that the restriction applies equally to heterosexual couples who are not married…”

    The judge rejected this:

    31. The key to whether or not the defendants are in breach of this regulation is the basis upon which they refused a double room to the claimants. They clearly did treat them less favourably than they would have treated a married couple but did they do this on the basis of sexual orientation? The defendants say “no”. We have no objection to homosexuals. Our objection is to sex outside marriage. We refused them the double room on that basis.

    32. But is this a correct analysis of the defendants’ position. I think not.”

    After the case, having used as her defence in court the argument that her refusal of a double bedded room was nothing to do with homosexuality but solely based on whether or not two people were married, Mrs Bull said bluntly: “the Bible’s teaching is clear that a man should not lie with a man and a woman should not lie with a woman.”

    Should the CI and Mr & Mrs Bull persist with this case, the gay couple cannot be held responsible for any harm that comes to poor Mr Bull as a result. The CI is taking a big risk with the Bull’s health and their livelihood.

    Even if goes to the highest courts I cannot see the outcome changing. If the Bulls were to win, then every scrap of equality legislation would become unenforceable, with any kind of discrimination excused on the grounds of religion. It a religion didn’t exist which allowed me to discriminate against, say, Belgians, I could simply invent my own…

    Peter Tatchell hit the nail on the head:

    “Businesses would grind to a halt, and social cohesion decline, as religious fundamentalists of all hues claimed the right to discriminate on faith grounds. Our equality laws would soon be in shreds. Discrimination would become rampant again. It would be hugely damaging to harmonious community relations.”

  426. Phoebs:

    Perhaps we should do away with some aspects of the equality laws, it certainly does not bring harmonious community relations. Trying to regulate everything doesn’t engender respect for others, it doesn’t change people views or beliefs, in fact the opposite happens, it causes disharmony, as we are seeing in this case. I would say that equality wants to treat everyone exactly the same, but really everyone should be treated with the same respect and equity.

  427. Richard:

    @Tom: if you look at the body counts, secular humanism leaves Christianity (and all other religions) way behind.

    @Phoebs: I agree entirely. The Equality Act, like its predecessors, is a Procrustean bed. We are not all the same, and a law that tries to force us to pretend otherwise is a bad law.

    @nobody in particular: while reading the judgement, I found myself thinking that a judge who cannot spell “supersede” is not someone in whose carefulness I would wish to place undue trust. :-)

  428. Sophie:

    @ Richard: Actually, I think you’ll find supercede is now an acceptable variant, though I’m not keen. There aren’t many words in English that can have more than one spelling, but there are some. One I immediately think of is jewellery and jewelry, both of which are acceptable in English,

  429. Richard:

    @Sophie: “Actually, I think you’ll find supercede is now an acceptable variant…”

    Are you sure you’re a Christian? You’re displaying far too much tolerance. :-)

    “…though I’m not keen.”

    Ah, that’s better. :-)

    I think it’s good and right that we should tolerate, accept, and even embrace diversity – not just in the context of spelling but in wider contexts, too. There is room in this world for B&Bs where anything (legal) goes, but there is also room in this world for B&Bs where the owners place understandable restrictions on whom they are prepared to allow into their homes (yes, yes, I know, it’s a business, but even so).

  430. Simian:

    Richard,
    I take issue with your comment: @Tom: if you look at the body counts, secular humanism leaves Christianity (and all other religions) way behind.
    Firstly I think you mean to refer to atheism. Humanism is not the same thing. I cannot think of any murder committed in the name of secular humanism. It may seem like nitpicking to you, but it is importnat that we do not promote falsehoods.
    Secondly, whilst people may have been killed within atheist regimes, they were not killed specifically in the name of atheism, but rather by totalitarian regimes. The same can not be said of religions. I fully accept that in the case of Christianity this is something which thankfully no longer happens. I wish the same could be said of some other religions.
    This is not a criticism of Christianity. It is just an attempt to correct what I believe is a misunderstanding.

  431. Katie D:

    I would just like to say that I wish Mr & Mrs Bull all the very best and I will be praying for them. I believe we are all entitled to our opinions, and wether we agree or not we live, or are supposed to live in a free country. My Father, Grandfather and Uncles fought to give us that right. It is becoming a dictatorship when one is told who one can have in ones hotel. If a couple makes the Bulls feel uncomfortable, they should have the right to refuse admission. God Bless.

  432. Sophie:

    @ Richard: I was thinking over your point about diversity. I suppose the Bulls could set up as a retreat, offering Christian holidays. They’d have to actually do it, not just re-label their existing business. If their hotel was a Christian centre, offering faith-related activities, etc. they could ask that only Christians book rooms. How else do retreats and so forth manage, legally? It might help to rename the hotel “The Chymorvah Christian Hotel” to stress the ethos of the business. This would deter non-Christian guests, whatever their sexual preference.

    But that doesn’t really solve their problem. There are gay Christians, of course, as well as Christians who accept them. Why would they assume they’d be unwelcome? Same sex couples shouldn’t have to check if they’re welcome, any more than black couples should.

    On top of this gay marriage is recognised in a number of countries, and can be performed in church. A Norwegian same sex couple, for example, could be both Christian and married, and simply want to go on holiday to a Christian hotel… A recipe for upset, as well as another court case. It’s poignant to read that when the gay couple booked their main concern was whether they could bring their dog.

    It’s no good. Wherever I look there’s a snag. The bottom line is that none of us is allowed to discriminate in the provision of goods and services. I see this as progress. The only way I can see the Bulls getting away with refusing double bedded rooms to same sex couples would be to offer only single rooms to everyone alike.

  433. Richard:

    @Simian: http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/atrox.htm

    @Sophie: you make a good point. I had the feeling that the Equality Act made some exceptions for religious organisations, and wondered whether any of them might be relevant here, but on consulting the legislation I discovered it to be a morass of cross-references, and I lack the determination (and time) to pursue that thought to the bitter end.

  434. Goy:

    “Businesses would grind to a halt, … “

    Any employer would now be wise to protect himself, his business and his employees from lawfare action under the equality act, ironically that could result in the silent exclusion of the very people whom gain advantage by the act.

    As this law appears to offer the accused no defence, silent discrimination (“no gay – no pay”) may be the employers only defence otherwise businesses will grind to a halt – bankrupted by lawfare.

    In these cases silence really would be golden.

  435. Roger Pearse:

    I’m always amused when people start trying to play games with the meaning of the word “Christian”. It’s the surest sign I know that they know they’re making a dishonest argument.

  436. Simian:

    Richard,
    You said:
    @Tom: if you look at the body counts, secular humanism leaves Christianity (and all other religions) way behind.

    You then responded to my objection that this was not correct by posting a link to a fascinating website graphically illustrating the major losses of life through war during the the 20th Century, for which thank you.

    But can you explain why you use that website to support your assertion? The author makes it very clear that it is not possible to assign any particular religion (or lack thereof) responsibilty for a significantly greater body count in relation to the population of the country (which is a reasonable assumption) than any other.

    And nowhere does ‘Secular Humanism’ feature on the charts. Let me repeat that it is not the same as Atheism. Hence my wish to clear up this misunderstanding. I hope this helps to clarify the position.

    One heartening thing to take from the charts – The appallingly huge body counts from around 1930 to 1950 have not been repeated since. Let us hope that it was a period of collective madness that will never be repeated!

  437. Richard:

    @Roger: I’m always disheartened when people try to debate without first defining their terms. That way futility lies.

    @Simian: Talking of “defining terms”, it is possible that I was using the term “secular humanism” a little loosely. My intent was to describe regimes that were irreligious in nature. The point of the page reference (and I agree that it’s a fascinating page) was to illustrate that simplistic references to the evils of religion (the Crusades etc) fail to take into account the far worse evils of irreligion. World War 2, the largest atrocity in history, is the most obvious case in point, but that page lists many others as well.

    At the heart of the Christian life is the “fruit of the Spirit” – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled people do not go around blowing other people up or shooting them down or trampling over their rights or oppressing them or discriminating against them.

    Which brings us right back to the Bulls. As I have already suggested, they were probably unwise (albeit understandably so) to take the stand that they did take. As they have made abundantly clear, it is their policy to “hate the sin but love the sinner”. Their house rule stemmed from the former, not the absence of the latter. This is reasonable. It happens to be (in this case) against the law, although of course this was not the case when they first opened their B&B.

    If they were younger, fitter, and less traumatised by their recent legal and health-related experiences, it would be interesting to debate with them over what sins they were prepared to tolerate in the rooms they let out. We all know that bankers are tax-dodgers, right? So presumably they would not be prepared to let a banker stay in their premises, in case he was thinking of spending a pleasant weekend working out new ways to defraud the Inland Revenue. And of course we all know that teenagers are drug addicts. So – no teenagers, just in case they use the room as an opium den. In fact, I can’t think of anyone on the entire planet who would qualify to stay at Chymorvah, were the “no sin” policy to be taken to its logical conclusion.

    And yet I still feel sorry for them, that they should be punished for taking the stand that they took.

    I think it would be far better to allow market forces to determine whether such a policy is sustainable in the long term, than to use the weight of the law to dictate to people how they should select their customers.

  438. Simian:

    Thank you for clarifying that Richard.
    And I absolutely agree about what should be at the heart of Christianity, or any other religion come to that. It saddens me when individuals falsely use the label of religion to execute acts that have no place in the religion they say they espouse. I think overall we are in complete agreement on this.
    Incidentally, not only am I a secular Humanist, but I am by nature a pacifist. I was in the Army for many years, and I saw enough pain and suffering (not perpetrated by my soldiers I hasten to add) to turn me totally against any form of avoidable violence.

  439. Tom:

    I think I’d also have a spelling test and turn away ignorant twits who abuse the language :twisted:

  440. ROD:

    In this case I believe that the law is an ass (excuse the pun).