ICC Note: The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has unanimously ruled against the Christian owners of a bed and breakfast who refused to allow unmarried couples to book a single room together. The couple, Peter and Hazelmary Bull, ran the B&B out of their own home and said that they applied the police to both heterosexual and homosexual couples. The Bull's were sued by a gay couple for discrimination based on sexual orientation and fined $5,800 in damages. The "lead decision" of the court was written by a justice who in the past has said that marriage "serves no useful purpose" and that, thanks to EU law, gay rights are almost "untouchable."
11/27/2013 United Kingdom (Charisma) - The U.K. Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by Christian bed-and-breakfast owners that only allows married couples to share a double bed.
Owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull had been successfully sued by gay couple Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy and were ordered to pay £3,600 (about $5,800) in damages.
The Bulls say their policy—which was applied to heterosexuals as well as homosexuals—is based on their sincere Christian belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull had appealed to the Supreme Court, asking for a “reasonable accommodation” of their religious beliefs.
But five judges all said the policy amounted to sexual orientation discrimination and dismissed the Bulls’ case.
Three judges said it amounted to direct discrimination, and two said it was indirect discrimination that, in this case, was not justified.
The lead decision was written by Deputy President of the Court Lady Hale, who in the past has argued that marriage serves no useful purposes.
Hazelmary Bull says she is “deeply disappointed and saddened” by the ruling, which is the first of its kind to be handed down by the U.K. Supreme Court.
She adds, “We are just ordinary Christians who believe in the importance of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
“Our B&B is not just our business, it’s our home. All we have ever tried to do is live according to our own values, under our own roof.
“These beliefs are not based on hostility to anyone—we certainly bear no ill will to Steven and Martyn. Our policy is based on our sincere beliefs about marriage.
“Britain ought to be a country of freedom and tolerance, but it seems religious beliefs must play second fiddle to the new orthodoxy of political correctness.
“We appealed to the Supreme Court to introduce a bit more balance when dealing with competing rights of sexual orientation and religious liberty.
“Somehow we have got to find a way of allowing different beliefs to coexist in our society.
“But the judges have sidestepped that big issue and reinforced the notion that gay rights must trump everything else."