ICC Note: A high-ranking judge in the United Kingdom has admitted that UK “non-discrimination” laws may be biased against Christians. A British couple owning a bed and breakfast were the latest to fall under the legal attack of supposed “non-discrimination” laws. When they refused to rent a room to gay couple Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall, on the basis of their policy that only rents to married couples, they were fined £3,600. Christian business owners in the UK that follow traditional Christian beliefs are finding it increasingly difficult to operate as the UK moves towards greater restrictions on religion.
By Carey Lodge
06/20/2014 United Kingdom (Christian Today) – The UK’s most senior female judge has admitted that the law may be discriminatory against Christians, highlighting the case of the Christian B&B owners who were condemned for turning away a gay couple – a case she herself ruled on.
Cornish hoteliers Peter and Hazelmary Bull were found guilty of discrimination against Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall after upholding a policy that only married couples were allowed to stay in their double bedrooms.
Preddy and Hall argued the policy was homophobic and broke equality laws. The court ruled in their favour and ordered the Bulls to pay £3,600 in damages. A subsequent appeal – funded by the Christian Institute – was later dismissed.
The Daily Mail reports that Baroness Hale at the time declared we should be “slow to accept” the right of Christians to discriminate against gay people, regardless of religious belief. However she was quoted in March as calling on UK courts to show respect and provide more legal accommodation for Christians.
Speaking on the issue at a lecture at Yale University, The Telegraph reported that Hale said: “It is fascinating that a country with an established church can be less respectful of religious feelings than one without”.
“It is not difficult to see why the Christians feel that their religious beliefs are not being sufficiently respected,” she added.
Last week the Baroness and other judges reversed their ruling that the Bulls must pay Preddy and Hall’s legal costs, and Hale has now suggested that her original judgement may have been unfair.
Speaking before the Law Society of Ireland in Dublin yesterday, Lady Hale pondered whether a “more nuanced approach” is necessary when dealing with issues of religious liberty in UK courts, the Daily Mail reports.