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Gay couple sue Christian hotel for banning them

Jessica Geen March 23, 2009

A gay couple are suing after a Christian-run hotel in Cornwall barred them from staying in a room together.

Martin Hall and Steven Paddy, who are civil partners, have launched a county court claim seeking up to £5,000 in damages alleging “direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation”.

They booked the room in November but were told on arrival that the hotel could not honour the booking.

Hotel owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull have defended the ban, saying that they have always barred unmarried couples, whether gay or straight, from sharing a bed at the Chymorvah Private Hotel in Marazion near Penzance.

They state on the hotel’s website: “We have few rules but please note that out of a deep regard for marriage we prefer to let double accommodation to heterosexual married couples only.”

In August, the Bulls received a letter from Stonewall citing a complaint and warning them their marriage policy was breaking the law.

Mrs Bull said: “In 26 years we have never really had a problem with it. I have found people to be very good and understanding. They realise that they are pursuing one lifestyle while we are pursuing another.

“I suppose we knew there would be problems with the new law, but I can’t change my beliefs and faith because of that.”
The Bulls’ solicitor, Tom Ellis, said he will argue that the Equality Act infringes their human rights as Christians.

He said: “Under the European Convention on Human Rights, people are able to hold a religious belief and manifest it in the way they act.”

More: England

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