A Christian minister is suing a Belfast hotel after it ordered him to halt a public meeting in support of traditional marriage.
Hotel staff interrupted the event, attended by more than 50 members of the public, and told Revd Harry Coulter to finish immediately.
Revd Coulter told The Christian Institute, who are supporting him in his case, that the incident left him feeling “humiliated” and he is now taking legal action for unlawful discrimination and breach of contract.
The minister hired the hotel’s Grand Ballroom for his ‘Marriage Matters’ event in October last year.
He said hotel staff were “closely involved” with setting up the meeting and “did not express any concern” about the meeting or its content.
Despite writing to the hotel twice and then sending a legal letter, the hotel has failed to investigate what happened or offer compensation.
He is now taking formal legal action, and his lawyers have stated the incident left the minister with feelings of “shock, disappointment and frustration”.
Leading Belfast legal firm Carson McDowell is acting on behalf of the minister. In a letter threatening court action, they told the hotel that Revd Coulter was a clear victim of discrimination.
They wrote that the only reason the event was stopped “was because it was promoting and supporting the proposition that marriage should only be between a man and a woman”.
Revd Coulter said it is important that regardless of their beliefs, people are able to express their opinions and views, “otherwise, we get very close to censorship and to state control.”
He is being assisted in his legal case by The Christian Institute.