Two Christian guesthouse owners who prevented a gay couple from staying in one of their double bedrooms say they can now legally turn away unmarried straight and gay couples.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull, from Cornwall, claim they have managed to get round equality laws by changing the status of their guesthouse to a not-for-profit company.
In an interview to the Cornishman, Mrs Bull said: “The Christian Institute advised us on how to form a limited company, which we were able to do by stating in the articles of the company that anyone coming to stay here would be expected to abide by our Bible-based beliefs.
“When we had the trial, there were a number of local B&Bs who said: ‘we are watching this very closely because we want to be able to say no sometimes’, not necessarily to that particular group of people but just on certain occasions.”
Martin Hall and Steven Preddy, civil partners from Bristol, had successfully sued the socially conservative couple for sexual orientation discrimination.
The couple had been turned away from the Chymorvah Hotel near Penzance in 2008 under the Bulls’ policy of not allowing unmarried couples to share rooms.
In January 2011 a judge at Bristol County Court ruled the Bulls’ behaviour amounted to direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and awarded a total of £3,600 damages to Mr Hall and Mr Preddy.
Along with giving the couple advice, the Christian Institute has also provided legal funding for the Bulls.
The Equality Act 2010 states that it’s illegal to refuse to provide goods and services based upon a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.