The Christian owners of a seaside hotel are being sued by a gay couple they refused a double room to.

Peter and Hazelmary Bull, who own the Chymorvah Private Hotel in Cornwall, refused to let civil partners Martin Hall and Steven Preddy stay in a room with a double bed in 2008.

The Bulls state on their website that they will only let heterosexual married couples share rooms.

A month before Mr Hall made the booking, the Bulls had been contacted by gay rights charity Stonewall to warm them that their policy broke the law.

Mr Hall and Mr Preddy, of Bristol, have lodged a claim for sexual orientation discrimination and are seeking £5,000 in damages.

Mr and Mrs Bull say that their longstanding policy applies to all unmarried couples, whether gay or straight. . Their legal defence is being financed by The Christian Institute.

Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute, said: “This case is about liberty of conscience. This guesthouse is Mr and Mrs Bull’s own home. They have rights too, and they should not be forced to act against their sincerely held religious beliefs under their own roof.

“Their guesthouse is not the only one in Cornwall, there is plenty of room for diversity of opinion. This Christian couple are being put on trial for their beliefs. Equality laws are being used as a sword rather than a shield.”

The case will be heard at Bristol County Court on Monday December 13th and the hearing is scheduled to last for two days.

Earlier this year, another gay couple said they would sue a bed and breakfast for damages after the Christian owners refused to let them share a room.

Michael Black and John Morgan, from Brampton, Cambridgeshire, were barred from staying at the Swiss B&B in Cookham, Berkshire, in March.