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Gay couple win in B&B discrimination case

A judge rules that a gay couple were discriminated against by Christian B&B owners who refused to let them stay in their guest-house.

Peter and Hazelmary Bull

A judge has ruled that a Christian couple who turned a gay couple away from a Cornwall B&B acted unlawfully.

Peter and Hazelmary Bull turned civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy away from their guest-house in 2008.  Hall and Preddy sued the B&B owners under the 2007 Sexual Orientation Regulations, saying the Bulls’ decision amounted to ‘direct discrimination’. The Bulls had already been warned by the LGBT lobby group, Stonewall, that a notice on their website, saying that they would only allow married heterosexuals to share a bed, was potentially discriminatory.

A Bristol County Court judge found that Hall and Preddy had suffered discrimiation, and awarded them £1,800 each in damages. The Bulls were given the right to appeal the ruling.

Stonewall’s Chief Executive, Ben Summerskill welcomed the ‘landmark ruling’ and said it should make some Christians rethink their stance on gay couples. ‘Religious freedom shouldn’t be used as a cloak for prejudice,’ he said. ‘For the estimated £30,000 that this court case cost Mr and Mrs Bull and their supporters during the last month, Oxfam or Save the Children could have vaccinated 100,000 people against meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa. That would have been a more Christian way to spend their money during the festive season.’

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