The Christian owners of a Cornish B&B have suffered a “campaign of hatred, vilification and intimidation” under the guise of tolerance, a national newspaper columnist has said.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull have been hit by crushing equality laws and a court case over their married couples only policy for double rooms.
Following the legal case the couple have received death threats and vandalism, and have now decided to sell the business – which is also their home.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Richard Littlejohn said some who preach tolerance are actually the “most vile, intolerant bigots imaginable”.
He added that the idea of “‘celebrating diversity’ never extends to those with devout Christian beliefs”.
And while the columnist said he didn’t agree with the Bulls’ policy, Mr Littlejohn strongly criticised the ordeal they have been subjected to.
He wrote that when the case first hit the headlines he had said the couple are “in the wrong line of work”.
“But”, he added: “that doesn’t excuse the campaign of hatred, vilification and intimidation to which they have been subjected over the past five years.
“They’ve suffered death threats and vandalism, and their website was corrupted with porn.
“Not for the first time it’s obvious that those ‘liberals’ who preach ‘tolerance’ are themselves the most vile, intolerant bigots imaginable.
“Funny how ‘celebrating diversity’ never extends to those with devout Christian beliefs.
“Now a misguided, but sincere, couple of middle-aged hoteliers have had their livelihood stripped from them in the name of ‘tolerance’.”
Mr and Mrs Bull will only allow married couples to share a double bed at their guesthouse because of their Christian beliefs.
Their policy, which applies to heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, has been in place since the business opened, and is well advertised.
But as soon as new gay rights laws were introduced in 2007, the Government’s tourism board for England struck the Bulls’ B&B off their approved list.
In 2011, the Bulls were successfully sued by gay couple Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy, who won £3,600 in damages.
The UK Supreme Court will hear the Bulls’ appeal next month in a case backed by The Christian Institute.