The Christian owners of a guesthouse who were fined £3,600 for restricting double rooms to married couples are set to appeal the decision.
A date has not yet been set for a hearing but the Court of Appeal is expected to examine the case later this year.
The Christian Institute has agreed to fund the appeal. Spokesman Mike Judge said it is important for the higher courts to examine the finely balanced legal points.
In ruling against the Christians last week, His Hon. Judge Rutherford – departing from his normal practice – granted permission for appeal.
He said his ruling “does affect the human rights of the defendants to manifest their religion and forces them to act in a manner contrary to their deeply and genuinely held beliefs.”
Peter and Hazelmary Bull were taken to court by Steven Preddy and his homosexual civil partner Martyn Hall.
Judge Rutherford ruled against the Christians, declaring that they had acted unlawfully in not allowing Mr Preddy and Mr Hall to occupy a double room.
The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations, Judge Rutherford found, say a homosexual civil partnership should be treated in the same way as a marriage when providing goods or services.
Reacting to news of the appeal, Mr Preddy and Mr Hall told reporters that they knew the outcome of the case was important and are not surprised it is going to a higher court.
Since the court ruling, the guesthouse has been targeted by numerous homosexual couples attempting to book double rooms in an apparent attempt to destroy the business.
Mrs Bull, 66, has also received abusive and menacing phone calls, but she cannot ignore the phone because her 71-year-old husband is in hospital, recovering from major heart surgery.
Even the hospital has had to deal with nuisance phone calls, leading staff to operate a password system for friends and family to enquire after Mr Bull’s health.
The guesthouse is teetering on the brink of financial ruin. But Mrs Bull has yet to tell her husband Peter about recent developments, for the sake of his current fragile health.
As in previous years, the guesthouse is closed from Christmas to Easter.