Gay couple ‘delighted’ UK Supreme Court rules against anti-gay Christian B&B owners

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A gay couple who were prevented from staying in a double room by the owners of a Christian guesthouse say they are “delighted” that the UK Supreme Court has ruled in their favour.

On Wednesday, the court rejected a legal challenge by Peter and Hazelmary Bull.

Civil partners Martin Hall and Steven Preddy, from Bristol, were turned away from the Chymorvah Hotel near Penzance in 2008 under the Bulls’ policy of not allowing unmarried couples to share rooms.

Judges had already twice ruled the Bulls broke equality laws in the running of their business.

In February, the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling against the Bulls made by Bristol County Court in early 2011.

It stated that the Bulls’ behaviour amounted to direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and awarded a total of £3,600 damages to Mr Hall and Mr Preddy.

Unhappy with the Court of Appeal’s verdict, the Bulls took their case to the UK Supreme Court.

But today five Supreme Court justices ruled against them.

Lady Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court, said: “Sexual orientation is a core component of a person’s identity which requires fulfilment through relationships with others of the same orientation.”

Reacting to the ruling, Steven Preddy told “Martyn & I are delighted with the ruling from the Supreme Court, which says what we’ve been saying all along: under our anti-discrimination laws, hoteliers have to treat gay civil partners and straight married couples equally. The Supreme Court has made it very clear that they agree with us on this, and that a religious objection doesn’t give anyone the right to break the law.”

The deputy legal director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Wendy Hewitt, added: “The courts have been very clear throughout this long-running case that same-sex couples should not be subjected to discrimination when accessing services. This is what Parliament intended when it approved the 2007 Sexual Orientation Regulations and then passed the Equality Act 2010, well aware that gay men and lesbians have long suffered discrimination when seeking to stay away from home as a couple.”