Holiday S-Inn: gay couple refused room at Christian guesthouse

December 7, 2010 | by | 32 Comments

The Christian owners of a seaside guesthouse are being sued in a landmark case – for refusing to allow a gay couple to share a double bed.

Holiday S-inn - gay couple refused room at Christian guesthouse

Devout Peter and Hazelmary Bull refused to let civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy use a double room because it would be ”an affront to their faith”.

They operate a strict policy which only allows married heterosexual couples to share rooms at their B&B in Cornwall.

The gay couple claim the snub was a ”direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation”.

They are using 2007 Equality Act Regulations to claim up to £5,000 in damages at a landmark case that begins at Bristol County Court on Monday (13th).

The hearing could determine whether Christians are permitted to operate B&Bs that restrict double bed accommodation to married couples.

Martyn and Steven’s legal fees are being paid for by the Government-funded Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Mr and Mrs Bull’s legal defence is being financed by The Christian Institute, a charity that protects the religious liberty of Christians.

The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said the case could have ”far-reaching ramifications for religious liberty”.

He said: ”This case is about liberty of conscience. This guesthouse is Mr and Mrs Bull’s own home.

”They have rights too, and they should not be forced to act against their sincerely held religious beliefs under their own roof.

”Their guesthouse is not the only one in Cornwall, there is plenty of room for diversity of opinion.

”This Christian couple are being put on trial for their beliefs. Equality laws are being used as a sword rather than a shield.”

Mr Bull, 70, and Mrs Bull, 66, have operated their ‘married only’ policy since they bought the Chymorvah Private Hotel in Marazion near Penzance, Cornwall, in 1986.

Their hotel website says: ”We have few rules but please note that out of a deep regard for marriage we prefer to let double accommodation to heterosexual married couples only.”

In August 2008, the Bulls received a letter from Stonewall, the gay rights organisation, saying it had received a complaint and warning the hotel it was breaking the law.

The following month Steven, from Bristol, rang to book a double room for two nights, but did not mention he was part of a homosexual couple.

Mrs Bull, who took the call, said that she had wrongly assumed he would be staying with his wife before she accepted the booking.

When Steven and Martyn arrived, they were told by the manager, Bernie Quinn, that the hotel could not honour the booking and could offer them separate single rooms.

The couple, who live together in Brislington, Bristol, told him he was acting illegally before leaving and reporting the incident to police.

Mrs Bull, a great-grandmother, said their policy meant that even her brother and his female partner had to stay in separate rooms when they visited the hotel.

She said: ”I have had people clearly involved in affairs and under-age people who have tried to book in here for sex, and I have refused them the same as I refused these gentleman because I won’t be a party to anything which is an affront to my faith under my roof.”

A spokesman for Stonewall said: ”We look forward to the hotel changing its policy to reflect equality, the 21st Century and the law.”

The Bulls and Martyn and Steven – who works for the RSPB charity – refused to comment yesterday ahead of the hearing.

The case will be heard at Bristol County Court on Monday 13 December and is scheduled to last for two days.

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Comments (32)

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  1. Dnorth says:

    “This guesthouse is Mr and Mrs Bull’s own home. ”

    Well then. Do not operate it as a business and problem solved.

    • Jen says:

      They have every right to run a business and impose their own rules. They have not discriminated against gay people – as rooms were offered. Lets just say they had a “rule” that didn’t allow sex in the public living room, No doubt Peter Tatchell and his wannabes would be straight down there, “outraged” that they couldn’t perform their lewd act wherever they pleased.

      • KenC says:

        Jen, that is the most ridiculous comparison. The law says you can’t have sex in public. And why is it that you fuckers thinks that all gay people do is think of sex? You are so misinformed and ignorant that you are a joke! Fuckwit.

        • Jen says:

          erm let’s see now….gay-wads like yourself use language like f**kers and then claim that you don’t always think of sex, its apparent you think of nothing else. What are you thinking of now? Me dressed as a little boy in a compromising position no doubt?

          • Ian says:

            I was picturing you more a 75 year old tranny actually (they love the name “Jen” bent over in your plaid skirt begging to be fisting in your cunt until you died. Jen, die of cancer you sad bitch

          • Anonymous says:

            Jen, you are one of the most disgusting people posting here. I am not gay, but I think your views are repulsive. And not all gay people think about sex 10/4, just as not all straight people do, you and all these moronic hardcore Christians are what is wrong with this country. I think guesthouses should ban your ilk instead. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Sex is not a lewd act in private, clown. And legally, they have no right to discriminate (and yes, it is discrimination to not let a couple share a room) against people due to colour, gender, religion or sexuality. You would be outraged if secular homophobes and Christians were banned from guesthouses. Grow a damn brain, imbecile. 

    • Jinks Jinks says:

      I have a guest house and if i dont want you in my home you wont be able to stay, so i feel for the other guest house owners, there are plenty of other options

  2. Colin Brown says:

    “”He said: ”This case is about liberty of conscience. This guesthouse is Mr and Mrs Bull’s own home.””

    Actually it has a sign saying HOTEL on the front. It is not a guesthouse. It is a business.

  3. Paulricky9 says:

    The law is clear no business can discrimate so they broke the law so simple!!

  4. Alexander_da says:

    Looks like these gays went out of their way to cause trouble by deceiving the owners when making a booking. It was made very clear who would be accepted. Why is it gays can have freedom of expression and choice but Christians cannot? Freedom means some will not always get what they want, you cannot please everyone all of the time. There are plenty of hotels that accept gays so offensive at times.

    • Gwquarry says:

      I agree with you.It seems that some people have more rights then others! Just on that alone they should just drop the case!All the money they waste fighting over meaningless things they could donate to good causes like the homeless or medical for people who are sick and can’t afford it!Things to benefit others who need help not trying to force there agenda on the rights of another just trying to change laws even.I say to bad fellaws find some other place to stay!!!!

  5. Xdevildawg4u says:

    Wow, that was the most one sided article I’ve read in a long time. No doubt where the writer’s bias lies. Very poor journalism. This article should be in the “Opinions” section rather than the news section.

  6. Religion=Hate says:

    If the owners were gay and refused straight or religious people the same thing, the straight or religious people would be doing the same thing and suing for discrimination. They are doing the right thing, if gays can’t discriminant against religious people then religious people shouldn’t discriminate against gay period.

    Also i wonder if they let unwed, divorced and infertile people share double beds or let Muslims and Jews do the same? they should be banned too along with gays as they also condemned by Christian rules.

    What ever happened to “Do on to others as you would have them do on to you”.

    • Mojojojo says:

      Isn’t everyone sick of this Gay-rights hysteria. There is nothing more intolerable than the Gay rights movement – if anyone is hate filled, it’s clearly the Rainbow-flag-waving-bigots. They intentionally go looking for things like this – just stay somewhere else.

      Try reading the article again – she does not allow her own brother to share a room with his girlfriend, why? Because they are not married – that’s their house rules. So to say Muslims or Jews won’t be allowed is plain silly – of course they would be, provided they are married, but man & woman ONLY – simple!

      Please note, they were not kicked out, but offered accommodation, just single rooms – is that really a matter for the Police? Oh how discriminated you all are – if only everyone can accept your perverted sense of justice.

      GAY RIGHTS = HATE FILLED BIGOTS

  7. gaypagan says:

    This is going to make me unpopular but, as a gay man, I support Mr and Mrs Bull. There are, literally, thousands of B&Bs, guesthouses and hotels in that area of Cornwall, the majority of which accept gay couples. Martyn and Steven could have chosen anywhere, but they appear to have deliberately picked one in order to cause trouble.
    I am a big advocate for gay rights, but I fight for equal rights on religious belief too. I believe the outcome should be that the Bulls are allowed to keep their rules, but must make it clear to all who make a booking that double rooms are purely for heterosexual married couples.
    It is important that gay people have equal rights but, whether we agree with the Bull’s beliefs or not, they should be able to choose, providing they openly make it clear before taking bookings.

    • Chris says:

      So if I’m a fundamentalist who believes all Jews are going to hell, can I exclude them from my B&B on the basis of my ‘sincerely-held religious beliefes’. As one gay man to another, I think we should stop justifying this sort of discrimination simply because it’s based on religion. You wouldn’t allow discrimination motivated by politics, so why would you allow if it it’s motivated by bigoted religious views? If they don’t like it, they should close doen their B&B. The law is there for everyone.

    • Ian says:

      shame on you. It took the uprising in Stonewall in the 1960’s to banish this sort of discrimination and now you advocate it. Why don’t you wish that Hitler had invaded us in 45 whilst you’re at it, or hope we become a muslim state? THEY BROKE THE LAW. END OF.

      • Anonymous says:

        OK, my religion states that no Christians are allowed in my inn and guesthouse. Suits me fine, and I am glad that people like you, Gaypagan, support it. 

  8. KenC says:

    I totally disagree with some of the posts here. The law is the law. You break it, you get busted. I am so tired of these feeble-minded religious freaks who practise hate and exclusion, but who would be the first to scream bloody murder if their rights under the law were trampled on. Can you imagine if Mr and Mrs Bull were denied accommodation at the inn because the owners thought christians were evil people who spread lies, bigotry and hate! This is precisely why the law must be applied to all, impartially. I hope the gay guys win their case and would be even happier to see the Bulls forced to close down their establishment of discrimination.

  9. CuteTexan says:

    As a gay man that looks for equal rights, I completely disagree with the gay couple. The owners of the BB have been operating their business under the same law since 1986, it appears to me that this couple was looking for an easy way to get attention and get some $.
    I extremely dislike those that try to stuck their religion down on other individuals, however the woman even stated that she wouldn’t even allow her own family stay if they were not married. Those are her religious and moral beliefs and she should be able to operate her business as she pleases! As long as the rule would not say, “No gays allowed” I am on BB side!

    • Ian says:

      but they ARE married/Civil Partnered. Dick head

    • Anonymous says:

      Hmm, gee, yeah I believe that all these ”gay” people defending these Christian freaks with the exact same points are really gay. 😐 If they are, they are idiots with no idea of the law. As Ian says, the couple were married.

  10. KenC says:

    I see they’ve taken the “married heterosexual couples” condition off their website

    • Jen says:

      …which proves the point – why did the gay couple book it in the first place when it was quite clear what the terms and condition were? Why do gay people insist on staying in places were their lewd behaviour is not welcome?

  11. Jay says:

    I have just googled ” Gay friendly B+B’s in Cornwall, and there is one that welcomes same sex couples in Penzance, 2mins from Marazion. (I used to live in cornwall) Clearly we do not know all the facts of the case and should not allow ourselves to be misinformed and antagonised by the media. However, if the couple in question did? Target the b+b then i thnk thats a bit harsh, but then again christians have been persecuted for the last 2000 years (check history,not the bible before commenting). If? and i say if? (do not want to cause a war!) Same sex couples (Civil partners or just partners, are a marginalised people, i.e not mainstream as i, believe hetrosexual’s are? Surely common sense would suggest that some research is viable before any decsion is made? (Realise this next statment it’s a ridiculous comparison) Just the same as if my car had non standard tyres and i took it to a garage and complained that they didnt stock them..Surley we would all exercise common sense and check first? The owners should of checked as to the nature of the gentlemens relationship? But again we are only relying on the info provided by the media (suspect) Maybe they did and it’s not being reported just like all the people murdered in civil wars that we (the west) are prevented from hearing about. I agree though, that if it’s a business then it cant be a home, a home is a place where you have total freedom to do as you please, I’ve stayed and worked in guest houses all my life and they are far from private. However as the owner of any business you should have the right to exercise your own discretion, as long as you are not breaking any LEGAL laws. That doesn’t appear to have happened yet, we should let the justice system sort that out. I welcome their moral code, i wouldn’t want teenager’s sneaking off for sex or business men or woman meeting colegues for weekends either and the fact they don’t (again we cant prove it) allow their own family to stay unless married either should prove they have one rule for EVERYONE. For the record I am hetrosexual christian, i live with my g/f (though we dont sleep together) i regulary attend church and have 2 gay brothers! oh and im in know way RELIGIOUS. (Christian brothers and sisters should get that one?) We should be displaying grace not hate, i for one will be praying for both parties to find peace as we as a race (everyone) desperately need to start pulling together.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good lord, here comes the Christian persecution complex. Christians have been persecuted for 2000 years? What a joke. Do you know who caused the most persecution in Europe (including of Christians)? Clue, it wasn’t the fascists, the communists, the atheists, the gays, the Muslims, the Jews or pagans, it was Christians. When Christians start getting burnt at the stake, tortured until they confess, massacred and their holy symbol hacked down, in modern Europe, then you can talk to me about persecution. Sorry, but the group with the biggest record of causing persecution has no right to talk as if they suffer persecution. 

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