The Christian owners of a Cornish B&B should be recognised as having the same human rights as the homosexual couple who sued them over their double bed policy, the Court of Appeal has heard.
Earlier this year a judge ordered Peter and Hazelmary Bull, owners of the Chymorvah hotel in Cornwall, to pay £3,600 in damages to Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy.
But yesterday Mr and Mrs Bull’s appeal hearing opened in London, and their QC made an impassioned plea for the couple’s human rights to be respected.
James Dingemans QC told the court that the effect of the previous ruling was to rate Mr Hall and Mr Preddy’s rights higher than those of the hotel owners.
“We say that is simply wrong. If human rights are to have any future at all they must respect all rights,” said the QC.
“The Bulls have an absolute right to believe that extra-marital sexual behaviour is wrong and a qualified right to manifest that belief.”
Mr and Mrs Bull’s double room policy has been in place since they opened the Chymorvah guesthouse in 1986 and the policy is applied consistently to all unmarried couples whether homosexual or heterosexual.
Mr Dingemans said: “They have literally prevented hundreds of unmarried couples from sharing double beds at their hotel.
“Their religious beliefs might be considered outdated and uneconomic but they are entitled to manifest those beliefs in their private hotel.”
He added: “the judge erred in failing to balance respective rights in this particular case.”
The appeal hearing ended today and a ruling is not expected to be given for some weeks.
The Bulls’ legal defence is being funded by The Christian Institute.