Peter and Hazelmary Bull run a bed and breakfast in the United Kingdom and were sued by two homosexuals when the Christian couple refused to rent them a bedroom in their business, which also is their home.
The fight brought on by the homosexuals went all the way to the nation’s highest court, resulting in an order that the Christian couple pay the “gay” duo a couple thousand dollars in damages.
All based on the idea of “nondiscrimination” laws where homosexuals are protected, but Christians are not. That Christians’ beliefs and practices must cede to the trendy notion of homosexuality.
It was one of the earliest cases – which now have spread across the globe and are being repeated in several locations in the United States – in which judicial authorities are ordering Christians to violate their faith in order to accommodate the desires of “gays.”
Now a key judge in that British court case is having second thoughts.
Serious second thoughts.
In fact, according to a report in the Daily Mail, Baroness Hale, the deputy president of the Supreme Court, said in a speech that her decision may have been wrong.
She is warning that the law, according to the report, “has done too little to protect the beliefs of Christians.”
Hale and four other judges ruled against the Bulls in the case that started in 2008 by determining that the rights of homosexuals outweighed the conscience requirements of the Christians couple who said they could not allow that behavior in their home, which also is their business.
At the time, Hale said society should be “slow to accept” the rights of Christians.
Now, however, the Daily Mail said she has acknowledged that laws that ignore Christian beliefs might not be “sustainable.”
She put her words into action, too, ruling in a very unusual move with other judges that the Bulls are not obligated to pay the legal costs of the case against them.
While the court ordered them to pay the 3,600 pounds to the homosexual duo, Steven Preddy and Martin Hall, the legal fees could have run many times that.
The courts had determined the Bulls violated the 2007 Equalities Act by declining to bend their religious beliefs for the homosexual duo. The case was supported by the legal defense fund of the Christian Institute.
For a time, the Bulls feared they would have to sell their guest house because of the cost of the case backlash to their income.
The Mail originally reported that the court’s results “effectively sealed the supremacy of gay rights over Christian belief under the Sexual Orientation Regulations.”
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.”
The Mail said in a report this week that Hale, in a speech to lawyers, said the courts need to take a “more nuanced approach.”
Perhaps a “conscience clause” that would recognize the beliefs of people, should be developed, she said.
The Mail said she told lawyers, “I am not sure our law has found a reasonable accommodation of all these different strands.”
And she said, “An example of treatment which Christians may feel to be unfair is the recent case of Bull v Hall. Should we be developing an explicit requirement upon providers of employment, goods and services to make reasonable accommodation for the manifestation of religious beliefs?”
Colin Hart, a spokesman for the Institute, told the Mail, “The penny is beginning to drop among judges that the law is unfair. I hope the Supreme Court will find more room to protect Christian consciences.”
The Bulls 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 have been suggesting.
WND reported recently that an appellate court ruled in a different UK 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.
The same fight is being seen across America, with different players. Just recently, a bakery owner in Colorado was ordered by a state board to violate his faith and provide “wedding” cakes to homosexuals, even though the state doesn’t recognize homosexual “marriage.”
The Colorado Civil Rights Division also ordered employees of Jack Phillips, a Christian baker who runs Masterpiece bakery, to attend a sensitivity training.
“The government … seek[s] to impose a new belief system upon Jack [Phillips], one that is fundamentally at odds with his conscience and his liberty,” explained a legal filing from attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom representing Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakes in Lakewood.
Two homosexuals filed the complaint after Phillips declined to provide them with a “wedding” cake. Phillips offered to provide other products but, citing his own Christian beliefs, declined to produce a message on a wedding cake that conflicted with his faith.
Administrative Law Judge Robert Spencer, however, earlier ordered Phillips, on pain of fines or even jail time, to violate his faith and provide the wedding cake to homosexuals Charlie Craig and David Mullins.
ADF appealed the “erroneous” ruling, filing a petition for review to the commission.
But the commission upheld the administrative judge’s opinion, rejecting ADF contentions that Spencer, under the state’s court rules of procedure, should have dismissed the complaint.
“America was founded on the fundamental freedom of all citizens to live and work without fear of government punishment,” said Nicole Martin, lead ADF counsel in the case. An appeal in the case remains an option.
A similar fight also has developed in the Pacific Northwest over a baker’s actions, and a photographer in New Mexico was fined thousands of dollars for refusing to lend her artistic talent to a homosexual ceremony there, in another state that did not recognize same-sex “weddings.”