Keeping it in the room: health, happiness and living in Berlin
The owners of a guesthouse who refused to allow a gay couple to stay in a double room have lost their appeal at the Supreme Court.
Hazelmary and Peter Bull were ordered to pay £3,600 compensation after they refused to let civil partners Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall stay at Chymorvah House in Cornwall in 2008. The Bulls, who say they regard sex outside marriage as a ‘sin’ had already lost at Bristol County Court and at the Court of Appeal.
Five Supreme Court justices ruled against them on Wednesday after analysing the case at a hearing in London in October.
Dismissing the appeal, Lady Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court, said: ‘Sexual orientation is a core component of a person’s identity which requires fulfilment through relationships with others of the same orientation.’
Homosexuals ‘were long denied the possibility of fulfilling themselves through relationships with others,’ she said, adding: ‘This was an affront to their dignity as human beings which our law has now (some would say belatedly) recognised.
‘Homosexuals can enjoy the same freedom and the same relationships as any others. But we should not under-estimate the continuing legacy of those centuries of discrimination, persecution even, which is still going on in many parts of the world.
‘It is no doubt for that reason that Strasbourg requires “very weighty reasons” to justify discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
‘It is for that reason that we should be slow to accept that prohibiting hotel-keepers from discriminating against homosexuals is a disproportionate limitation on their right to manifest their religion.’
Image © Oli Scarf/Getty Images
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