A British gay couple has won a discrimination case against a hotel that refused to allow the two men to share a room.
Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy were awarded Â£1,800 each in damages at the Bristol County Court in connection with the September 2008 incident which Judge Rutherford described as “direct discrimination”.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull, of the Chymorvah Hotel in Cornwall, told the court that their Christian values did not allow them to book shared rooms to unmarried couples.
“It is a very clear example of how social attitudes have changed over the years for it is not so very long ago that these beliefs of the defendants would have been those accepted as normal by society at large,” said Rutherford, adding, “Now it is the other way around.”
Preddy told the BBC that the judgement showed that civil partnerships were legally the same as marriages.
“Judge Rutherford has found that our treatment was an act of direct discrimination and therefore a breach of the law,” he said.
LGBT rights group Stonewall hailed the ruling. “Religious freedom shouldn’t be used as a cloak for prejudice,’” said Chief Executive Ben Summerskill.
“For the estimated Â£30,000 that this court case cost Mr and Mrs Bull and their supporters during the last month, Oxfam or Save the Children could have vaccinated 100,000 people against meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa. That would have been a more Christian way to spend their money during the festive season,” he added.
The Bulls said that they were considering appealing the ruling.