Martyrs? Guest-house owners who turned away gay couple on ‘religious’ grounds are nothing of the kind

The Supreme Court ruling is a reminder that we have - mercifully - moved on from the Middle Ages

Owen Jones
Wednesday 27 November 2013 13:53
Christian guesthouse owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull
Christian guesthouse owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull

Spare a moment for that persecuted, oppressed minority: homophobes. The latest benighted martyrs for the cause of bigotry are Hazelmary and Peter Bull, who today lost their Supreme Court battle for the right to turn away gay partners. It's not homophobia, they claimed, because their objection is to sex outside of marriage, not gay couples. It reminds me of the argument once made by US homophobes: that laws forbidding two men having sex were not discriminatory because straight people were banned from having gay sex, too.

If people choose to be homophobic, they should do it in their own homes and not inflict it on the rest of us. Which is the point, really, because it's not as though The Big Gay Menace body-pumped its way into a window the Bulls had left open, made their living room FAB-U-LOUS while twerking to Lady Gaga. No, the Bulls ran a business which made money by allowing members of the public to stay in their bed and breakfast. And in doing so, they are compelled to abide by rules like, say, paying tax, complying with health and safety requirements, and not turning away guests because they are black, disabled or gay.

Persecutors and the prejudiced – whether they are US segregationists or sexists – almost always posture as the real victims, claiming that their way of life is under attack from the state. Unfortunately, history didn't judge kindly the American Southern cafe owners who turfed out African-Americans sitting in seats “reserved” for whites.

The Bulls are more than entitled to run their lives as Leviticus laid down, though the political correctness do-gooder brigade may get uppity again if, say, Hazelmary stones Peter to death for blaspheming. But the rest of us have moved on from the Middle Ages, and – sadly for people like the Bulls – the law no longer allows gays to be treated like lepers.

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