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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. Homeless

    Who are the Christians refrred to...aren't they just the Catholics? The rest of us believers or unbelievers are the homeless....

    January 19, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  2. John

    There's some important points in here:
    1. The Christian owners said that they deny double rooms to any "unmarried couple"
    2. The gay couple had a civil union.
    3. If the B&B owners had been allowed to discriminate against the gay civil partners, it would have meant that not only are civil unions "separate but equal", they're not even equal.
    4. In the eyes of British law, the civil union of this gay couple has exactly equal standing as the marriage of a straight couple.

    January 19, 2011 at 7:26 am |
  3. hausinbotyadasauderbogameatball

    everybody has a right to ones own belief,if the people who owned the b&b felt that this isn't appropriate, than thats there belief,just as much as the gay couple believe they are in the right to be together. but we know how this is going to end, and that some is going to have someone else belief fored on them. Its all about them.

    January 19, 2011 at 7:06 am |
    • RGR

      Correct...The rights of the Customer who pays the money trumps the rights of the Service provider who receives the money.

      January 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  4. Rich

    How many wives did King David have?

    January 19, 2011 at 6:13 am |
  5. Karloff

    If the owner of the B&B were muslim, she would have won the case.

    January 19, 2011 at 5:47 am |
  6. Sighko Sis

    I wonder how many straight couples were turned away for the same reason. Did they check the marriage certificates of everyone who checked in? Or did they just take their word for it?

    January 19, 2011 at 5:34 am |
  7. Don

    It is a truly bad decision not because of the religious aspect, but because people have the right to discriminate against whomever they want. If not, then woman cannot say no to any request for s.ex.

    Discrimination DOES NOT mean solely against g.ays/blacks and other minorities/women. And it's not inherently wrong. We have the right to say "No, you cannot use my car" to some random stranger, and the saying no IS discrimination. It's time that people started looking at the concept of property rights, and stopped thinking that "I want" means "I'm ent.itled".

    January 18, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
  8. Mom of 2

    Are we all sinners? YES Should I judge you? NO God came and died for our sins so that no matter what sins we have committed, he will make us clean! The only requirement on your part? To accept that He died for your sins. I encourage all of you who doubt, just read the bible with an open heart. Ask God to come into your heart, and your life will never be the same. He doesn't promise it will be easy, but He promises to be by your side, and He promises eternal life. If you meet a christian that is hateful, please remember that no one is faultless or without sin. If you meet a christian that is judgmental or self-rightous, please know that that is not how God wants us to live. Yes, God has His commandments of how we treat others and morals we should live by. We don't have to agree with our neighbors lifestyle or beliefs, but we do have to show love to them. God told us to love even our enemies, and to judge no one. Please do not let negative experiences of people that call themselves christians to separate you from a relationship with a loving God. He loves you, even when we are hateful to him, even when we sin, He still loves you! He leaves it up to you whether you love Him back.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Don

      I've never sinned, Mom of 2. I can't sin, as there's no such thing as sin. Sin is just something from your little myth; it's not something that's real.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • QS

      Ah yes, sin, that age old epitome of fear tactics and control.

      January 19, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      M.o.2: So in order to not suffer eternal torture we must believe? Sounds more like a tyrannical monster than anything that deserves worship! Time to grow up, teach your kids some real facts and pull your head out of the sand....your book of fairy tales is not useful in every day society, can't be used in the making of any law and therefore outside of your church and home, has no place in society! I pity your children for the brainwashing they are receiving from you...that is bad parenting and you should be ashamed of yourself. I hope one of them brings home their same sex partner...then and only then will you potentially undertsand how horrible your belief is.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:04 am |
  9. t party

    being straight is not a choice , being g-ay is not a choice. I happened to be born straight. if it was a choice I would be attracted to both men and women. I am only attracted to women. If it was a choice I would be attracted to both and CHOOSE women. fact no one chooses their se-xuality

    January 18, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  10. Nicholas O'Connor

    Protip: None of the "Christians" in this article are actual Christians, they're just pretenders.

    January 18, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • Mom of 2

      I'm going to have to disagree with you on that one.....

      January 18, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  11. Graeme

    Look.......all they had to do was put up a sign that reads..."We reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone without explanation".....problem solved.....

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

    What was the age of their dog ?

    January 18, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  13. Andy

    @CW "No where in the bible is it written that it is correct or right for a man to marry a man or a woman to marry a woman...period."

    In fact nowhere in the bible is lesbianism discussed, perhaps God is like Queen Victoria who refused to believe that women "would do such things".

    January 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  14. PJ

    LOL., what e big news... Rules are rules: if they do the same thing to girl & boy teens are you ready report discrimination against young people? I bet...no

    January 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  15. PJ

    LOL, what a news...If they do the same thing to pair of hetero teens you will report they discrimnsted against young people?

    January 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  16. MM

    What parent doesn't punish their kids when they do wrong. If you love your children you want them to do the right thing and you want to teach them how to handle life situations so you punish, time-out, or whatever. So, if you are a child of God then he wants us to grow into good human beings so of course he's going to punish us. It doesn't mean he doesn't love us. We punish our kids because we love them.

    So, if you are not a Godly person, don't worry about the punishment that is inflicted on those who are Godly. We understand the punishment. If you don't understand it...it is your decision to continue in your lack of understanding.

    January 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • QS

      Awesome, another parent who punishes their kids for doing nothing other than being themselves? Nice try. Didn't put up with it from my real parents so why should I put up with it from your make-believe one?

      January 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      MM: Except the point you are missing is that these are not children, they are grown adults and the owners had no right to judge these people for being in a relationship that SCIENCE has said is nautral as you being hetero. It doesn't matter what your imaginary friend supposedly said, that can't be used to make laws...all it does is makes bigots (like you).

      October 3, 2012 at 4:48 am |
  17. serg

    We dont live under the old testament rules or laws.
    The law pointed towards Jesus who fulfileed the old testament laws.
    We live under grace our Lord JesusChrists GRACE...

    January 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  18. James

    I wouldn't even let them into the lobby. They are disgusting. Discriminate against what? Filth?

    January 18, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Something

      @James

      "I wouldn't even let them into the lobby. They are disgusting. Discriminate against what? Filth?"

      Let me know when you are anywhere near my place so that I can bar you and your filthy mind.

      January 18, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • QS

      Uh oh, better run along James, I think you might be late to your WBC Klan meeting!

      January 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      James: Please explain your bigotry and how these people directly affect your life (aside from the fact that you're simply ignorant and get disgusted by it).

      October 3, 2012 at 4:50 am |
  19. littledebbieoatmealcookie

    http://littledebbieoatmealcookie.wordpress.com/explosion/ – getting the boot from the B&B ?

    January 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  20. Bernard

    Why must bullies always cry when they get told that there being mean and need to stop it? It's not a breach of you liberties it's the protection of rights of the bullied.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
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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.