Christian B&B Owners Sell; Won’t Rent to Unmarried Couples
After a lengthy legal battle, the Christian owners of a U.K. B&B, who refused a same-sex couple a double room in 2008, say they are selling their hotel. The couple is taking their case to the Supreme Court on Oct. 9, saying that since their policy went afoul of travel company Visit England, they have been unable to get sufficient bookings.
"We were with Visit England for more than 20 years, but we had to part company because we agreed we were not going to change our policy and the government policy had already changed," Mr. Bull told BBC. We were three-star rated, but, because we’re not with Visit England anymore, we’re unable to go in many publications and websites [which require the Visit England ratings].
The couple, Hazelmary and Peter Bull of the Chymorvah Hotel in Marazion, turned away gay couple Steve Preddy and Martin Hall in September 2008. The Halls say they turned them away because they don’t believe unmarried couples should be having sex, not because the men are homosexuals. Although the men are not married, they are in a civil partnership.
"We always ran our business in accordance with what it says in the Bible. We are responsible for what happens under our own roof, and it was important we abided by that," the Bulls told BBC.
Officials from Visit England say, however, that tourism providers "should treat everyone accessing their goods, facilities or services fairly," clarifying that equal treatment should be "regardless of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, gender reassignment, religion or belief, and guard against making assumptions about the characteristics of individuals."
The case first went to court in Dec. 2010, when Preddy and Hall alleged that the Bulls were guilty of illegal discriminatory treatment. They sought $7,900 in damages.