Gay couple win discrimination case :)

A photo from Truro's 2009 Gay Pride Parade

News today that Judge Rutherford has ruled in favour of a gay couple at the centre of a discrimination case, has left me feeling that there may be hope for the world yet.  Or at least the UK. I’m also sure that Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy are both feeling pretty good about the ruling too.

As I’ve previously blogged, the Mr Hall and Mr Preddy had tried to stay at a B&B near Penzance, Cornwall in 2008, but were refused their room when they came to stay at the B&B. The Christian owners of the B&B, Peter and Hazelmary Bull, had refused them their room because they did not give double-rooms to unmarried couples due to their particular brand of Christian beliefs. However, Mr Hall and Mr Preddy were legally acknowledged as a couple at the time, because they had a civil partnership.

The Christian Institute, who had been supporting Mr and Mrs Bull’s side of the case, have been predictably irked by the ruling. According to the BBC, Mike Judge from The Christian Institute said:

“This ruling is further evidence that equality laws are being used as a sword rather than a shield.

“Peter and Hazelmary were sued with the full backing of the government-funded Equality Commission.

“Christians are being sidelined. The judge recognises that his decision has a profound impact on the religious liberty of Peter and Hazelmary.”

And thus the return to Christians as victims rhetoric slips in yet again. If Preddy and Hall are “married” (go to this blogpost to see relevant rant) in the only way that homosexuals can be legally recognised as doing in the UK, then the Bulls should not have refused the couple their room.

The fact that there are some Christian denominations (however minor) that are fine with gay people who have eloped to the best of their legal rights, is of course ignored by The Christian Institute. You know why? Because even as an atheist, I understand that a group like that could never speak for all Christians. They certainly don’t speak for this guy:

A photo from Truro's 2009 Gay Pride Parade

And just what about people who are “married”, but come from other religions? (Let alone straight unmarried couples who don’t believe in marriage.) I’m sorry, but the Bulls don’t have a leg to stand on.

Sadly, the Bulls may still appeal the ruling.


3 thoughts on “Gay couple win discrimination case :)

  1. I think an appeal would be a good thing. I’m tired of the christian/gay fight – we need all to get along, and get over our prejudices, on both sides of the fence. But it’s important our laws get tested. Bit of a legal perspective here:

    • After reading your blog post, I’m sorry but I don’t see why such a precedence should be given to the “Judo-Christian” origins of our laws and common laws. I would say that it was due to such origins that the women of this country, for instance, were subjugated for so long.

      And as I stated in the blog post that I’ve linked to in this one, I find it far too hypocritical of the Christian owners of the B&B to have enforced their views when it is very unlikely that they follow many of the other rules set out in the Bible. Why when I saw Mrs Bull on TV yesterday, she was obviously wearing clothes made from fabric of mixed fibres.

      This is not just about the “christian/gay” fight, this is also about the irrational beliefs that far too many religious people still believe they can hold today and enforce on others.

  2. I think there are one or two points on which an appeal might conceivably be mounted. Was the correct community standard applied, for instance?

    On the face of it though, this was pretty straightforward. The married gay couple were treated unequally only because they were gay. The Equality Act says businesses can’t treat people unequally. The judge’s dicta don’t really matter, his ruling seems to be a straightforward application of the legislation.

    The Bulls could conceivably take the case all the way up the tree to the European Court of Human Rights, but even so I would expect the verdict to prevail.

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