The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by Peter and Hazel Bull, the Christian guest house owners held by the Court of Appeal to have discriminated against two gay men by refusing them a double bed.
According to the Christian Institute, which is supporting the Bulls, the date for the hearing has not yet been set (at the time of ET going to press).
During their appeal, district Judge Rutherford, sitting at Bristol County Court, ruled that the hotel in Marazion, Cornwall, had directly discriminated against the gay couple on the ground of sexual orientation and awarded them compensation of £1800 each.
In February this year, when Judge Rutherford heard the case Bull and Bull v. Hall and Preddy (2012), Lady Justice Rafferty said it would be ‘unfortunate to replace legal oppression of one community (homosexual couples) with legal oppression of another (those sharing the appellants’ beliefs)’.
She also said there should be ‘respect for the broad protection granted to religious freedom’, but maintained that the Bulls did not ‘face any difficulty in manifesting their religious beliefs; they are merely prohibited from so doing in the commercial context they have chosen’.
Lord Justice Hooper, said, ‘Although described as private, the hotel owned and run by Mr and Mrs Bull is available to all.
‘Moreover the rooms available to the guests are not in the part of the building Mr and Mrs Bull occupy as their home. The religious beliefs of Mr and Mrs Bull do not exempt them from observing the regulations in their ownership and management of the hotel.
‘In short, they are not obliged to provide double bedded rooms at all, but if they do, then they must be prepared to let them to homosexual couples, at least if they are in a civil partnership, as well as to heterosexual married couples’.