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Hotel must train staff to be nicer to homophobes after being threatened with hefty ‘free speech’ lawsuit

Emma Powys Maurice September 29, 2020
Hotel in free speech lawsuit must retrain staff to be nicer to homophobes

Staff of the Balmoral Hotel will be retrained following the incident (Envato Elements)

A Belfast hotel that terminated a conference being held to oppose same-sex marriage has promised to retrain its staff after being threatened with a ‘free speech’ lawsuit.

Following complaints from other guests, 50 members of the anti-LGBT+ Coalition for Marriage were unceremoniously turfed out of the the Balmoral Hotel halfway through their “Marriage Matters” event.

In retaliation, the “humiliated” reverend Harry Coulter launched a hefty lawsuit to “defend his freedom to hold and express” his anti-gay beliefs, forcing the hotel to issue a grovelling apology as part of a settlement.

“As a hotel, we have always sought to serve people without discriminating on the grounds of religion, belief or political opinion,” The Balmoral Hotel wrote in a letter.

“We are therefore disappointed that on the night in question we fell short of that standard… We recognise that the ability to respectfully debate issues on which we hold strong views is fundamental to freedom of speech for all of us.

“We also recognise that the particular way in which this was dealt with was embarrassing for you and inconvenient for your guests. I reassure you that this will never happen again.”

To avoid a repeat of the incident the hotel also vowed to retrain its staff, ironically, to “respect human rights”.

Reverend Coulter said he “wholeheartedly accepts” the hotel’s written apology. “I am very satisfied with the way the Balmoral Hotel has now responded to my concerns,” he told Premier Christian News.

“They have made clear that the way we were treated that night was not up to their own standards and have accepted that it caused embarrassment and pledged that it will never happen again.

“They have also committed to retraining their staff to respect human rights, and endorsed the importance of free speech and respectful debate.”

He also thanked the notorious anti-LGBT+ lobby group The Christian Institute for supporting his case, and encouraged other Christians facing challenges to their “religious liberty” to contact them for help.

 

More: Balmoral Hotel, Belfast, coalition for marriage, free speech, Northern Ireland, same sex marriage, The Christian Institute

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