The Christian owners of a seaside hotel may be prosecuted after refusing to allow a gay couple to stay in a double room.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull are facing an unprecedented court case under new equality laws.
Martyn Hall, who lives with his civil partner Steven Preddy, has lodged a county court claim for up to £5,000 in damages alleging direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
But the Bulls deny the charge, saying they have a long-standing policy of banning all unmarried couples, both heterosexual and gay, from sharing a bed at the Chymorvah Private Hotel in Marazion near Penzance in Cornwall.
The Bulls, who have the backing of the Christian Institute, have operated their 'married only' policy since they bought the hotel in 1986.
The hotel website 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
Last August, the Bulls received a letter from Stonewall, the gay rights organisation, saying it had received a complaint and warning the hotel it was breaking the law.
The couple's solicitor, Tom Ellis, from the Manchester-based firm Aughton Ainsworth, said: Our argument is that the regulations impinge on the Bulls' human rights. Under the European Convention on Human Rights, people are able to hold a
religious belief and manifest it in the way they act.
Sorry our rooms are only for couples
in a properly consummated marriage
Enter the Chymorvah Private Hotel in Marazion, near Penzance, and in the bedrooms you will find open Bibles and Christian leaflets.
Here at Chymorvah you will be met by a friendly welcome. Besides excellent food in plenty and comfortable beds, you will find a warm hospitality and much happiness, mingled with good service.
But only if you are heterosexual and married.
And this, according to that bastion of paranoia, the Christian Legal Centre, has landed them deep in the soft and smelly, for they are now facing a discrimination claim brought by a gay couple who were refused a double bed.
Martyn Hall and his civil partner, Steven Preddy, from Bristol, have lodged a claim for damages, alleging sexual orientation discrimination. The couple are claiming that the refusal to allow them to share a bed was: Direct discrimination on the
grounds of sexual orientation.
They are relying on Equality Act regulations and are claiming up to £5,000 in damages against the hotel owners, who are now facing a civil action at Bristol County Court this coming Monday.
The Christian Institute, which is assisting the Christian couple, is outraged, and has issued a statement saying: This case is about liberty of conscience. This guesthouse is Mr and Mrs Bull's own home. They have rights too, and they should
not be forced to act against their sincerely held religious beliefs under their own roof. This Christian couple are being put on trial for their beliefs. Equality laws are being used as a sword rather than a shield.
A judgement on the case will be made after Christmas.
Gay couple end legal action to extort more damages from hoteliers
Surely a slap on the wrist is enough to note that gay discrimination is now no longer tolerated, even by the religious. There is no need to persecute those who just happen to have been made an example of. It seems wise that those that secured a
small victory for fair play have been prevented from becoming the villains of the piece.
A gay couple who successfully sued the Christian owners of a hotel who refused them a bed are withdrawing a claim for more compensation.
Taxpayer-funded lawyers for the gay couple, Steven Preddy and Martyn Hallthen, submitted documents to the Court of Appeal claiming the religious beliefs of Mr and Mrs Bull should have been disregarded, calling for the damages to be increased.
But the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is representing Preddy and Hall said the cross appeal was an error of judgment by its legal team and was being withdrawn: I would like to confirm that public money will not be spent
funding a claim for increased damages in this case.
Christian Institute spokesman Mike Judge said: We are pleased that the Commission has seen sense and withdrawn their demand for a stiffer penalty against Mr and Mrs Bull. However, this U-turn has come only after negative publicity.
Police threaten to prosecute christians for anti-gay insults
Another story that repeats and confirms that freedom of speech has been overruled by police and political correctness. And in cases of conflicting views, the police resolve issues by siding with those that shout loudest.
Religious people feel that they have a god given right to berate gays and promote historic nonsense that is insulting to gay people
Someone is inevitably easily offended by the insults.
The police immediately take sides with complainants, regardless of other considerations such as human rights, tolerance and people just trying to get by.
The police ignore the parliamentary legislation that was intended to arbitrate in exactly this conflict of interest.
Instead, police fall back on the corrupted and abused 'Public Order Act' that now criminalises minor insult.
Religious people are left feeling aggrieved, due to the bullying police and authorities, for the insults that could easily just have been left ignored.
Police tell cafe owner: Stop showing Bible DVDs, or we will have to arrest you
Jamie Murray was warned by two police officers to stop playing DVDs of the New Testament in his cafe following a complaint from a customer that it was inciting hatred against homosexuals.
Murray was left shocked after he was questioned for nearly an hour by the officers, who arrived unannounced at the premises. He said he had turned off the Bible DVD after an aggressive inquisition during which he thought he was going to be
arrested and frog-marched out of the cafe like a criminal .
The Salt and Light cafe in Blackpool has for years repeatedly played the entire 26-hour-long Watchword Bible , a 15-DVD set produced in America in which a narrator reads the whole of the New Testament, on a small flatscreen TV on the back
wall. The sound is turned down but the words flash on to the screen against a series of images.
Murray said he had been given no indication of who had complained or which verses of the New Testament had caused the offence, but he guessed it may have been a reaction to the Book Of Romans that had been playing the week before. The Book takes
the form of a letter from the apostle Paul to the people of Rome, in which he rails against all manner of godlessness.
In verses 26-28 of Chapter One he says:
God let them follow their own evil desires. Women no longer wanted to have sex in a natural way, and they did things with each other that were not natural.
Men behaved in the same way. They stopped wanting to have sex with women and had strong desires for sex with other men. They did shameful things with each other, and what has happened to them is punishment for their foolish
Lancashire Police said they had received a complaint from a female customer who was deeply offended by the words she had seen on the screen. A spokesman said they were duty bound to respond to the complaint and had concluded the
cafe could be in breach of Section 29E of the Public Order Act.
A preacher has appeared in court after shouting in the street at two gay men and telling them that they would rot in hell.
Street preacher Michael Overd was apparently spreading the word of the lord in Taunton when he saw couple Craig Manning and Craig Nicholl approach. Overd is alleged to have told the couple that homosexuality is a sin and that they were evil people
and would burn in hell.'
Overd is charged with two counts of a public order offences. He is on unconditional bail and is due to go to trial on February 9 2012.
George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury has slammed the government for refusing to support a group of Christians fighting for what they perceive as their right to continue discriminating against gays.
Four individuals who have been disciplined at work or lost their jobs after refusing to remove crosses or to conform to gay rights laws are attempting to overturn the decisions of British courts and tribunal via a legal case at the European Court
of Human Rights.
They had hoped for support from Ministers after a former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, appealed to Prime Minister David Cameron on their behalf.
But the Government told the European Court of Human Rights that it backed the British judges and does not accept that the Christians have themselves suffered religious discrimination in being sacked for discriminating against gays.
To the dismay of Lord Carey, the Government even said that wearing a cross or a crucifix was not a generally recognised Christian practice. Lord Carey said:
I am very disappointed for the individuals concerned who have simply followed their conscience. Such is the result of a liberal establishment that has become deeply illiberal.
Christian lawyers claim the rights of the four to express their anti-gay beliefs at work should be protected by the European Convention on Human Rights, which allows individuals to manifest their faith in public.
But the Government, in 40 pages of legal arguments drawn up by the Foreign Office, said they were not protected because neither wearing a cross nor following their conscience at work was a core requirement of their faith. The Government said: The UK is entitled to conclude . . . that other than in limited prescribed circumstances, religious belief does not justify discriminating on grounds of sexual orientation.
Christian hoteliers lose their legal case to be allowed to discriminate against gay guests
It must be incredibly expensive for Christians to keep on fighting this losing battle. The law simply does not allow people to discriminate against gays. There simply is no exception for christians, much as they would like one. Would it be to
much for Christians to accept that they should love their neighbours even if they are gay. After all that's what the great man said.
Stonewall today welcomed a decision by the Court of Appeal to uphold a landmark court ruling in favour of a couple refused a hotel room by the owners of a hotel in Cornwall.
Civil Partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy had been turned away from the Chymorvah Hotel near Penzance in 2010 by owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull. In January 2011 a judge at Bristol County Court ruled that the Bulls' behaviour amounted to
direct discrimination, and awarded a total of £ 3,600 damages to Mr Hall and Mr Preddy.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive, said: We're delighted that the Court upheld the judgment. The Court's decision vindicates Stonewall's hard lobbying to make it illegal to deny goods or services to someone just because they happen to
be gay. That obviously includes hotel rooms for many gay holidaymakers, which can only be a good thing in a Jubilee year. I hope Mr and Mrs Bull will now feel content to go home to do God's good work as Easter approaches, instead of relentlessly
pursuing a happy couple through the courts.
A Christian couple who were fined because of their discriminatory policy for double rooms at their guest house in Cornwall have won permission to take their case to the Supreme Court.
Earlier this year the Court of Appeal upheld the verdict that Peter and Hazelmary Bull had breached equality legislation and discriminated against Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy after refusing them a double room citing their marrieds only
policy for double rooms.
The Bulls denied that they had discriminated against the couple, saying that they had also barred unmarried heterosexual couples from sharing double rooms since they opened for business 25 years ago.
Simon Calvert, of the Christian Institute, which funded the Bull's appeal, said:
Not everyone will agree with Peter and Hazelmary's beliefs, but a lot of people will think it is shame that the law doesn't let them live and work according to their own values under their own roof.
Something has gone badly wrong with our equality laws when good, decent people like Peter and Hazelmary are penalised but extremist hate preachers are protected.