A legal expert in the United Kingdom says he hopes the nation’s Supreme Court takes action regarding a couple who faced death threats and were sometimes going “hungry” because of their decision to run a bed and breakfast based on their Christian beliefs.
The Daily Mail today profiled Hazelmary and Peter Bull, who were ordered to pay 3,600 British pounds to homosexuals Steven Preddy and Martin Hall after refusing to accommodate them in their home-style hotel.
The courts determined they violated the 2007 Equalities Act by declining to bend their religious beliefs for the homosexual duo. That case, supported by the legal defense fund of the Christian Institute, now is pending before the Supreme Court in the UK.
It is to be heard next month, according to an Institute spokesman.
Meanwhile, the Mail report confirms the Bulls are offering their guest house for sale because the backlash over the fight with homosexuals has cost them so much business, and income.
“They say they have no option but to sell their beloved home and business after failing to attract enough custom and paying their legal costs after high profile court cases over the issue,” explained the Mail.
Reporter Francesca Infante explained besides death threats over their pro-Christian stance, they lost their listing with hotel database Visit England, they have endured vandalism, have had the bolts removed from the wheels of their car and found a dead rabbit nailed to their fence.
“The landmark legal case heard at Bristol County Court polarized opinions and effectively sealed the supremacy of gay rights over Christian belief under the Sexual Orientation Regulations,” the report said.
Hazelmary Bull said the court’s conclusion was that “Some people are more equal than others.”
Mike Judge, spokesman for the Christian Institute, said, “It’s a chilling view of equality which ends up treating a pair of honest Christians like this. I very much hope the UK Supreme Court introduces a more balanced approach.”
The Bulls told the Mail they are being forced to sell their nine-bed facility because last winter they “were actually shivering and were hungry.”
“Last winter was terrible, we were actually shivering and were hungry,” she said. “We are coming towards next winter and dreading it.”
They have run their Chymorvah Private Hotel in Cornwall under Christian rules since they opened it in 1986.
“Such rules are so strictly adhered to that Mrs. Bull has admitted that even her own brother, when he comes to stay, is required to stay in a separate room to his female partner,” the Mail said.
The issue might not be as settled, however, as some may suggest.
WND reported recently that an appellate court ruled in a different dispute over homosexuals’ access to bed-and-breakfast facilities that religious rights are as valid as “gay” rights.
The opinion came in a case against the Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Cookham, Berkshire. The owner, Susanne Wilkinson, was ordered earlier to pay a homosexual duo, Michael Black and John Morgan, about $6,000 in damages for denying them permission to use a bedroom.
Nevertheless, the determination that religious rights are as valid as “gay” rights was significant, according to the Christian Institute.
“There is hope for Christian-owned bed and breakfasts that restrict double rooms to married couples only,” the organization reported.
“Although the B&B at the center of the case lost its appeal, the court said its marriage policy should not be regarded as ‘direct discrimination’ against same sex couples,” the organization reported. “The Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson said in his ruling that he would prefer to treat such a policy as indirect discrimination, which can be lawful if the policy is justified.”
According to the Christian Institute, Dyson’s comments “are a step in the right direction for the civil liberty of people to act upon their sincere beliefs about marriage.”
The issue has arisen in the United States, where a photographer in New Mexico was penalized by the state in a case still under appeal for refusing to provide service to two lesbians who wanted a “marriage” ceremony memorialized. Bakers in Washington and Colorado have refused to provide services for same-sex marriages.
In each case, the business owners’ have refused to compromise their deeply held religious faith to the homosexual-rights agenda.
This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court gave a boost to homosexual activists in two rulings on same-sex marriage.
In the U.K., the movement is several years ahead of the U.S., which makes the British appellate court’s determination significant.
The court said while religious rights are of equal importance to sexual-orientation rights, in this case it had not been shown that converting the Christian business to single-bed accommodations would have caused it to fail.
The statement suggests strongly that given the right circumstances, a “married couples only” policy for such businesses could be legally affirmed, said analysts.
“I am pleased that there is hope for people like me who believe in marriage,” Wilkinson said in a statement to the Christian Institute. “I am pleased that in his ruling Lord Dyson … has stated that in his opinion mine ought not to be a case of direct discrimination. I am also encouraged that the three presiding High Court judges have affirmed that the human right of religious belief is intrinsically as important as that of homosexual orientation and that neither right in principle trumps the other.”
Judge said, “For the first time in cases like these, the court has properly engaged in arguments of justification, and attempted to balance religious rights and sexual orientation rights.”
Wilkinson and her husband say they have received “hundreds of emails an hour” and threatening phone threats and texts because of their faith.
Mike Wilkinson said, “One was hand-delivered and handwritten in capitals and said, ‘I am coming to burn your house down.’”