UK Gay Couple Wins Discrimination Suit Against Bigoted B & B

18 Jan

News out of the UK today, where a gay couple won a landmark decision against discrimination.

Steven Preddy & Martyn Hall

Partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy tried to rent a room at Peter and Hazelmary Bull’s seaside bed & breakfast. The Bulls believe that their Christian values dictate that two men cannot sleep in the same bed and therefore refused the double-bed room to Hall & Preddy, they said it would be “an affront to their faith”. But seeing as the gay couple was only trying to do what thousands of other couples do every year, they decided to bring the Bulls to court.

Today, a Bristol County Court judge awarded the gay couple £1,800 in damages. Judge Rutherford’s decision read:

“The only conclusion which can be drawn is that the refusal to allow them to occupy the double room which they had booked was because of their sexual orientation… and that this is direct discrimination.”

Hall & Preddy were extremely happy with the outcome, saying:

“We’re really pleased that the judge has confirmed what we already know – that in these circumstances our civil partnership has the same status in law as a marriage between a man and a woman, and that, regardless of each person’s religious beliefs, no-one is above the law.”

While this is clearly a case that will be used by the National Organization for Marriage and the like, to say that Christians are being discriminated against for practicing their beliefs, it is the exact same argument used against bi-racial couples who wanted equality in the latter-half of the 20th century. But in the end, equality won out…and it will in our case as well. Congrats to Martyn Hall & Steven Preddy for striking a blow against discrimination everywhere.

Some of you may have heard about the gay couple in Cornwall, England, who sued the owners of a small bed & breakfast who refused to allow them to sleep in a room with a double-bed.

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5 Responses to “UK Gay Couple Wins Discrimination Suit Against Bigoted B & B”

  1. Tony Sidaway January 22, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    One thing this case shows is the importance of legal protections established by civil marriage.

    In the UK there is as yet no marriage-in-name for gay couples, but civil partnerships between same-sex couples have exactly the same legal weight as marriage between heterosexual couples. The hoteliers said they only permitted married couples to share a double bed in their guest house, but because Mr Preddy and Mr Hall were in a civil partnership clearly they were treated differently only because of their sexuality, which is unlawful discrimination.

    It might be that they would still have prevailed if they had not been married, or if civil partnerships were not legally identical to marriage, but it is by no means obvious that they would have succeeded. The strong legal protections for their status definitely helped.

  2. Tony Sidaway January 22, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    (I should clarify that in the UK the term “married” is commonly used to describe those in civil partnerships. Religious people and churches may continue to draw a distinction for ecclesiastic and religious purposes, the word “marriage” being avoided in the wording of the civil partnership law mainly out of concern for such religious sensitivities.)

  3. Liberty September 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    It’s not equality when one group gets to dictate to another. Also martyn hall an steven preddy are just as bigoted..a bigot is just someone who has a strong opinion and intolerant of other opinions..fits the LGBT exactly…also if this comment doesn’t show up because of moderation.why is it OK for a website to decide what comments show up on their site, but this family isn’t allowed to say who stays in their home…..

    • Jamie McGonnigal October 13, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      Oh sweet, misguided lady. If you can’t comprehend the difference between commenting on a blog post and being denied service by a public business where money changes hands, I’m not quite sure your bigotry is worth responding to – but best of luck.

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