Full statement by Hazelmary Bull, owner of the Chymorvah guesthouse
Re: Gay couple win discrimination case against Christian B&B owners.
Firstly let me say that my husband, Peter, cannot be with me today. As we speak he is undergoing major surgery for a triple heart by-pass and valve replacement. Understandably, this is a very stressful day for us both, and I am keen to be by his side. Pete wants me to be here today, because we both feel this is an important case that has implications beyond the two of us.
This morning the judge handed down his decision and we are obviously disappointed with the result. Our double-bed policy was based on our sincere beliefs about marriage, not hostility to anybody. It was applied equally and consistently to unmarried heterosexual couples and homosexual couples, as the judge accepted.
We are trying to live and work in accordance with our Christian faith. As a result we have been sued and fined £3,600. But hundreds of Christians have given us gifts, so thanks to them we will be able to pay the fines.
Chymorvah guesthouse is not just our livelihood, it is our home. We don’t expect everyone to agree with our beliefs, but we do want the freedom to be able to live by our own values under our own roof. Everyone benefits from those liberties, and everyone loses something when they are watered down.
Although we are disappointed by the decision, we are encouraged by some of the things the judge said. He said his decision affects our religious liberty and forces us to act against our deeply and genuinely held beliefs. He has therefore given us permission to appeal. We will take time to consider our position carefully with our legal team.
In the meantime, I do feel that Christianity is being marginalised in Britain. The same laws used against us have been used to shut down faith-based adoption agencies. Much is said about ‘equality and diversity’ but it seems some people are more equal than others.