B&B owners take gay ban to supreme court

 

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The Christian owners of a Cornish guesthouse – who refused to allow a gay couple to stay in a double-bedded room – have won permission to take their case to the Supreme Court.

Earlier this year Court of Appeal judges dismissed a challenge brought by Peter and Hazelmary Bull, pictured, who run Chymorvah House in Marazion, against a ruling that they breached equality legislation when they turned away Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy in September 2008.

The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, has now decided to hear their case. The appeal court upheld the finding of Judge Andrew Rutherford at Bristol County Court in January last year that the Bulls had directly discriminated against the couple, who were awarded £3,600 damages.

Mr Bull, 72, and Mrs Bull, who is in her late 60s, regard any sex outside marriage as a "sin". They argued that their policy of restricting double beds to married couples, in accordance with their religious beliefs, was not directed to sexual orientation, but sexual practice.

Dismissing their appeal last February, Sir Andrew Morritt, Chancellor of the High Court, said that the restriction was "absolute" in relation to homosexuals but not in the case of heterosexuals. "In those circumstances it must constitute discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Such discrimination is direct," he said.

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