Baroness Hale: Christians should have more legal protection for anti-gay beliefs

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A Supreme Court judge who ruled against Christian B&B owners for declining service to a gay couple has said Christians need to have more ‘religious freedom’ protections.

Baroness Hale was one of the five Supreme Court justices to reject the appeal of Christian B&B owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull, who lost a long-running court dispute after refusing to serve gay couple Martin Hall and Steven Preddy.

In a speech this week, she said ‘the pendulum has swung too far one way’ in protecting the gay couple ahead of the Bulls.

The judge said: “I am not sure our law has found a reasonable accommodation of all these different strands [of society].

“An example of treatment which Christians may feel to be unfair is the recent case of Bull v Hall.

“Should we be developing an explicit requirement upon providers of employment, goods and services to make reasonable accommodation for the manifestation of religious beliefs?

“If the law is going to protect freedom of religion and belief it has to accept that all religions and beliefs and none are equal.

“It cannot realistically inquire into the validity or importance of those beliefs, or any particular manifestation of them, as long as they are genuinely held.

“The pendulum has swung too far one way. Why can’t two lifestyles live together? It is too late for us, but we are glad the issue hasn’t gone away.

“It is being debated so there may be an opportunity for more balance to be brought into this.”

Colin Hart of the Christian Institute said: “The penny is beginning to drop among judges that the law is unfair.

“I hope the Supreme Court will find more room to protect Christian consciences.”