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January 18th, 2011
07:58 AM ET

Christian B&B owners discriminated against gays, UK court finds

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

A Christian couple who refused a room in their bed and  breakfast to a gay couple broke British equality law, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Peter and Hazel Bull who run a bed and breakfast in Cornwall in western  England denied being anti-gay, saying they refuse double rooms to any unmarried  couple.

"The Bulls made it clear that they did not hold any hostility towards  homosexuals and applied their policy of 'only giving double rooms to married  couples' equally to both homosexual and heterosexual guests alike," the  Christian Legal Centre said in their defense.

But Judge Andrew Rutherford ruled the Bulls had discriminated against  Martyn Hall and Steve Preddy on the ground of sexual orientation and awarded  them 1,800 pounds (about $2,900) each, according to Britain's Equality and  Human Rights Commission, which supported the gay couple.

Hall and Preddy said they were extremely pleased with the outcome.

"When we booked this hotel ... we checked that (it) would allow us to  bring our dog, but it didn't even cross our minds that in 2008 we would have to  check whether we would be welcome ourselves," they said in a statement released by the commission.

They are civil partners, and they said they were "really pleased" that  the ruling confirmed "our civil partnership has the same status in law as a  marriage between a man and a woman, and that regardless of each person's  religious beliefs, no one is above the law."

The ruling was one of the first under a 2007 British law banning  discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, the commission said.

The British gay-rights group Stonewall is "delighted" with the outcome,  its chief executive Ben Summerskill said.

"You can't turn away people from a hotel because they're black or Jewish  and in 2011 you shouldn't be able to demean them by turning them away because  they're gay either," he said, adding: "Religious freedom shouldn't be used as a  cloak for prejudice."

But the director  of the Christian Legal Centre said the court had  "decided to override the freedoms of Mr. and Mrs. Bull.

"Today's judgment is yet further evidence that the so-called 'equality'  legislation, which was intended to protect Christians along with many others in  society, is treating some more equally than others and leaving Christians  marginalized," Andrea Williams of the Legal Centre said.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Faith • Homosexuality • United Kingdom

soundoff (261 Responses)
  1. Bob

    I disagree with the court's ruling. If you own a piece of property you should be allowed to deny service to whomever you like, for whatever reasons you like.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Frog hater

      Yes, and also what if all Christians of the world, forced our agenda down the gay's throats. I don't jump off a mountain, because there are some ignorant people doing it.

      January 18, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  2. MarkinFL

    Oh goody, I see the reply function has gone kaput!

    January 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  3. sc

    arent they cute

    January 18, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  4. Colin

    YEt another example of the foolish things human beings do when their mind is infected with religious nonsense.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  5. JerseyJ9

    These people have the right to be christians all they want to, but when they open a business for PUBLIC use they have to follow the law. At this point, they do not have any rights as "christians" they have the rights as business owners. As being such, they broke the law and was fined. Period!!

    January 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  6. my6cents

    The fool says in his heart there is no God. The heavens declare His glory

    January 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • QS

      Perhaps your 6 cents would be better spent on therapy than in the collection plate.

      January 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  7. Eddie boy

    Yeah.. Why is the bible always mentioning wine and promoting alcoholism. Isn't water healthier? Why do you have to turn it into wine?

    January 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Yet another Anna

      Because Jesus knew how to party!

      January 18, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • scott

      Because Jesus and Mary drank water that made your average southern mexican lowland inner city spigot seem clean. Wine and beer were water filters. 🙂

      January 19, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • chris

      The Bible promotes alcoholism, have you even read the Bible or just the one passage you are referring too here from John 2: 1-11. I'm pretty sure as both a Christian and a recovering alcoholic that the Bible does no such thing as promoting alcoholism. In fact it is the very book that saved me from alcoholism. Please read the Bible.

      January 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  8. Paddy

    There is no God. There is no great glowing fairy in the sky watching over us. There is no red skinned monster below waiting to punish us for the rest of eternity.

    There is nothing more than a planet populated by 7 billion people, of which, roughly one third are completely, totally and utterly insane. I was brought up in the most catholic of cities – Dublin – and it tought me to treat religion with the contempt it deserves. All those sucked into the great universal lie of religion seriously need to get their heads examined.

    January 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Phil

      God is not a lie and he speaks against religion ,religion is about dos and don'ts . God is about mercy, grace and forgiveness

      January 19, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • QS

      Thanks for that Paddy! 🙂

      @Phil – I actually think I agree with you, god is not a lie....god is a tool, used to keep far too many people from being decent human beings.

      January 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  9. pork

    The proprietors of the B&B are getting the shaft.
    Unlike the the two 'special' people, they aren't enjoying it.

    January 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  10. Dr. No

    Bigotted Christians? I'm shocked. Really.

    January 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  11. Lee Oates

    Religion is something that people need to grow out of. Guiding your life with 2000 year old fairy tales is extremely immature and dangerous to the health of others.

    January 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Phil

      Calling the bible a fairy tale with all its background and historical proof is just plain silly.

      January 19, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • QS

      As a history book, the bible leaves much to be desired. Maybe some of the names and places are accurate, but you could say that about any fictional movie ever made...it's historically accurate because it took place in L.A.; L.A. is a real place so this entire movie must obviously then be true.

      Fun how easy it is to take something based on reality and turn it into something so fanciful that others feel drawn to it, isn't it....or it could be that they're drawn to it due to the threat of burning forever in a lake of fire if they admit they aren't drawn to it!

      January 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Phil

      Again... I must be getting you confused with the other -Phil, who has stated his stance as an atheist.

      Peace...

      January 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  12. JUst Thniking

    ABSURD & RIDICULOUS LOGIC
    IF ="Does God answer prayer?" – "YES? " THEN " Why so many hungry People in the world..." Like saying ...Should God answer the prayers of Atheist who does not care to be inconvenienced with HIM in the first place?
    What percentage of the starving people are praying ?...do you really know? and to whom are they praying? AND who then is responsible for these social evils when men who neither want to be coginzant of the knowledge of God or care to know who or what is God's nature...
    .AND why do atheist blame a God in whom they don't believe or don't see ...or adamantly don't want others to believe in as well by belittling those who do?
    IF the atheist "wish" for a paradigm of a world/universe without God was true , THEN why then is there so much suffering in the world? ...Perhaps it is because men are often selfishly motivated and evil in nature (EVIL being the absence of God?)
    IF man is so good where then is the synergism of his goodness manifested ? Why cant men solve these world problems as much as they try w/o God ? Why are a majority of charity groups that help feed the hungry all over the world historically founded and presently managed by those who identify as believers in God not atheist?

    January 18, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • scott

      There is so much wrong with what you just typed that even God isn't going to touch that one.

      January 19, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • QS

      I....you....I mean we....ugh....huh?

      January 19, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  13. tallulah13

    I'm not sure why this article is in the faith section (seems more like a legal issue to me), but it sure exposes the bigotry of some of these posters.

    If these B&B owners follow a religion that insists on discrimination, they shouldn't be in the hospitality business.

    January 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  14. Jeff

    Christians are not being marginalized. What is being marginalized in prejudice that hides behind religion.

    January 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • scott

      Here here here, where's my gavel so i can bang i!?! You go Jeff!

      January 19, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Jeff

      Well said.

      Peace...

      January 19, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  15. fsmgroupie

    lev. 18: 22
    If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have commited an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be put upon them.
    Just some more good ol' christian values!!!

    January 18, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • scott

      OMG! Buy a bible. If you are going to use it to justify hurting other people then you should at the very least be able to read and quote it. There blood shall not be put upoun them. That would mean we're supposed to bathe them in it after we kill them. There blood WILL BE UPOUN them. Meaning that they will be responsible for the deadly consequences of crossing god's book editor.

      January 19, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  16. american me

    Someone should raze the B&B to the ground. That way they won't be able to discriminate against anyone.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  17. coder

    Every religious text was written by man, not a deity – written by a group trying to justify their new religion of the time...
    Religion has always been being used by the weak to exert some measure of control. It's been that way for thousands of years.
    The true test of religion – is what the next deity and the next prophet deem as acceptable. Once Muslims, Jews, and Christians finish murdering each other – the next religion will suddenly come to power.

    As long as government accepts any premise of religion at all – then religious power will be a problem.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Peace2All

      @coder

      VERY well said...!

      Peace...

      January 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Phil

      The bible was inspiered by God to write his thoughts down in a way we could understand and in doing in so not change the characters style of those writing it so as not to cunfuse us, in other words when Paul was writing you saw Pauls style but got Gods teaching .

      January 19, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • QS

      It's amazing to me that so many people find it so easy to believe in other peoples' delusions.

      January 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Phil

      Are the -Phil that claims to be an atheist...? Seems to me you probably aren't.

      However, either way... I would like to ask you... How exactly and specifically do you *know* that what you posted is ...in fact..*absolute fact.*...?

      Very, very ....curious....!

      Peace...

      January 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  18. Joey

    I find it hilarious that they complain their religious rights have been violated because they now have to serve gay couples. The law was passed four years ago. If they didn't like it, they've had pleanty of time to locate another source of income, and sell this business to someone who would be comfortable complying with the law.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  19. MM

    Dogs welcomed. Gays not welcomed.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  20. MM

    If I were gay I wouldn't want to have anything to do with anyone who is Christian. If someone doesn't like you stay away from them. Why make yourself a ridicule.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • John Dale

      "Why make yourself a ridicule."

      Indeed. Why?

      January 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • scott

      that's like saying if you were black you wouldn't want to have anything to do with anyone who would drink from a fountain. I live in a christian nation, in a christian family, and i will not let it be used to perpetuate perverse hatred. I will tear it down from the inside out. One bed and breakfast run by old shut ins at a time. (that one is for Rabia Diluvio)

      January 19, 2011 at 7:57 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.