The owners of a British guest house who refused to allow a gay couple to share a room have once again lost their years-long legal battle to be allowed to discriminate.
In 2001, Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy were awarded £1,800 each in damages after they were denied shared accommodation at the Chymorvah Hotel in Cornwall in 2008.
Owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull said that their Christian values did not allow them to book shared rooms to unmarried couples.
They argued that they were not discriminating against gay people per se as they would also not allow a heterosexual unmarried couple to share a room, which they regarded as a “sin”.
The Bulls lost an appeal in 2012 and took the matter to the Supreme Court, which ruled on the case on Wednesday.
The court unanimously found that they had indeed discriminated against the gay couple in contravention of equality legislation.
The five justices said that the Bulls had to recognise that same-sex civil partnerships have a similar status as heterosexual marriage under the law.
“There is no question of treating one community different to another,” said Lady Hale in her judgement. “If a homosexual couple were running a hotel and denied a double room to Christians because of their religious beliefs that would be equally unlawful.”
Speaking after the ruling, Mrs Bull said: “We are deeply disappointed and saddened. We’re just ordinary Christians who believe in the importance of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
The Bulls sold their guest house in order to pay for their legal bills.