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Supreme Court hears Christian guesthouse discrimination case

The Supreme Court is currently hearing a case of Christian guesthouse owners who discriminated against a gay couple.  Peter and Hazelmary Bull, who run the Chymorvah Hotel in Marazion, Cornwall, were previously ordered to pay damages to civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy, after refusing to let them stay in a double room on their premises.  Before taking their case to the Supreme Court, Mr and Mrs Bull lost their case in a county court and at the Court of Appeal.  The British Humanist Association (BHA) supports the previous court judgements in this case as being the correct application of the law.

After a hearing at Bristol County Court in 2011, a judge ruled that Mr and Mrs Bull’s behaviour constituted direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and ordered them to pay £3,600 damages to Mr Hall and Mr Preddy.  In 2012, Mr and Mrs Bull’s appeal against this decision was dismissed by the Court of Appeal, but they were then given permission to take their case to the Supreme Court.  Today is the second day during which five Supreme Court justices have been hearing legal arguments in the case.

Pavan Dhaliwal, BHA Head of Public Affairs, commented ‘we welcomed the previous legal judgements in this case, which stated that Mr Hall and Mr Preddy were victims of discrimination.  The Equality Act makes it clear that the refusal to provide goods and service on the basis of someone’s sexual orientation is illegal.  The previous court judgements correctly decided that Mr and Mrs Bull had broken equality law, and we hope that the Supreme Court will also reach this conclusion.  The right to conscientious objection should not extend to the right to discriminate in the provision of goods and services.’

Notes

For further comment or information contact Pavan Dhaliwal, Head of Public Affairs at pavan@humanism.org.uk or on 0773 843 5059.

The Independent – Christian B&B owners appeal at Supreme Court over sex discrimination case: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/christian-bb-owners-appeal-at-supreme-court-over-sex-discrimination-case-8868805.html

Pink News – UK Supreme Court hears case of anti-gay Christian B&B owners: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/10/09/uk-supreme-court-hears-case-of-anti-gay-christian-bb-owners/

Previous BHA news article – Christian hotel owners take appeal against discrimination ruling to Supreme Court: https://humanism.org.uk/2012/08/15/news-983-2/

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

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