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27-11-2013

The owners of a Christian guesthouse who were ordered to pay damages for turning away a gay couple have lost their appeal in the UK Supreme Court. Mr and Mrs Bull refused to let civil partners Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall stay in a double room at Chymorvah House in Marazion in Cornwall in 2008.

The booking form apparently said, "Here at Chymorva we have few rules but please note that out of a deep regard for marriage we prefer to let double accommodation to heterosexual married couples only - thank you."

Mr and Mrs Bull had previously lost their case in the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal held that there is no material difference between a marriage and a civil partnership and Mr and Mrs Bull had treated the civil partners less favorably than a married couple on the grounds of their sexual orientation by refusing Preddy and Hall a room together.

The case, although not an employment one, has long been cited as highlighting potential difficulties with conflicting rights, the right to manifest one’s religion and the right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation. The Court of Appeal, however, said that there was no conflict, because Mr and Mrs Bull were only restricted from manifesting their religion in the commercial context that they had chosen.

Sarah Rushton (srushton@moonbeever.com)

Tel: 0207 539 4147

This is intended for general information only and should not be considered as giving advice in relation to any individual case nor be taken as applying to any particular case. No liability is accepted for any such use of the information.

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