Christian hoteliers’ business ‘down by two thirds’
The Christian hoteliers who discriminated against a gay couple in refusing them a room have said their business has fallen by two thirds since the case.
Hazelmary Bull told the Caterer and Hotelkeeper that occupancy in the private hotel had dived from 75 to 25 percent during the three-year case.
The couple also said they have submitted plans to turn the hotel into a Christian rest centre, the Cornishman reported.
Martin Hall and Steven Preddy, civil partners, had successfully sued devout Christians Peter and Hazelmary Bull for sexual orientation discrimination.
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They had been turned away from the Chymorvah Hotel near Penzance in 2008 under the Bulls’ policy of not allowing unmarried couples to share rooms.
The Bulls said it was a policy to do with sexual practice, not orientation and did not discriminate on those grounds. A Bristol court disagreed and that decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal.
Lady Justice Rafferty said in her view the Bulls do not “face any difficulty in manifesting their religious beliefs”.
She added: “They are merely prohibited from so doing in the commercial context they have chosen.”
The Equality and Human Rights Commission who funded Mr Hall and Mr Preddy said they would not be enforcing an order for costs against the Bulls, whose case was paid for by the Christian Institute and a spokesman said there was “genuine sympathy” for the couple.
Hazelmary Bull said the hoteliers were “disappointed” in the result but that the couple had received support from others in their industry.
She told the Caterer and Hotelkeeper business had been hit because they withdrew the hotel from Visit South West, the tourist board, while the case was ongoing.
The Chymorvah Hotel website still lists the Bulls’ policy of not allowing couples to share a bed unless they are in a heterosexual marriage today.