NI Attorney General: The UK Supreme Court’s pro-gay ruling forces Christians to be ‘complicit’ with sin

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Northern Ireland’s Attorney General has criticised a ruling by the UK Supreme Court against homophobic discrimination and suggests it forces Christians to be “complicit” with sin.

John Larkin said it was wrong to fine the Christian owners of a B&B in Cornwall, after they banned a same-sex couple from sharing the same bed.

Speaking at a Christian conference this week, the staunch Catholic said the decision seemed to leave such Christians with the option of either closing their business or “being complicit in what the Christian must regard as deeply sinful”.

Mr Larkin said that he did not believe that “some boor who for his own obscure reasons does not like homosexual people should be able to deny services to them as an expression of his own dislike; the law prohibits such a denial of services, and in my view, rightly so”.

“On the other hand, I do think that a Christian in business should not be placed in a position in which he now seems placed by the Supreme Court decision in Bull and Hall where she or he must choose between withdrawing from business or being complicit in what the Christian must regard as deeply sinful,” Mr Larkin added, according to the Belfast Newsletter.

In November 2013, the UK Supreme 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.

Last 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.

Mr Larkin is known for being an opponent of equality rulings. He advised against extending adoption rights to same-sex couples in Northern Ireland and was in favour of maintaining restrictions on gay men donating blood in the province.