UK Judge Rules Christian Hotel Owners Cannot Discriminate

Posted By on January 18, 2011

United Kingdom – Judge Andrew Rutherford has ruled that Christian Hotel Owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull can no longer refuse rooms to gay people on the basis of religious freedoms. The lawsuit has been running since 2008 when they denied a couple a room, claiming their beliefs wouldn’t allow it.

Tipped by PRIDEinUtah reader Michael B.

This is incredibly relevent to us here in Utah. Paul Mero of the Sutherland Institute is pushing his cronies and Republican Lawmakers up on Capitol Hill to pass a “religious exemption” law to the non discrimination ordinance, meaning that anyone can still discriminate as long as they claim it’s for religious reasons. Of course, this is in direct opposition to the LDS (Mormon) Church’s proclamation that non discrimination laws are a good thing. One wonders why LDS members are still listening to the Sutherland Institute?

Peter and Hazelmary Bull

Peter and Hazelmary Bull

Via Peter Tatchell:

“Peter and Hazelmary were offering a service to the public by providing hotel accommodation. Everyone who provides services to the public should do so without discrimination. That’s the law. People of faith cannot legitimately claim exemption from equality laws that apply to everyone else. 

“If the court had ruled that the Bull’s were allowed to ban gay couples from sleeping together in the same room, it would have opened the floodgates to a deluge of similar religious-motivated claims for exemption from the equality laws.

“We could have ended up with some Jewish supermarket workers demanding the right to not handle pork, Muslim restaurant staff refusing to serve alcohol and Christian solicitors declining to represent gay or cohabiting heterosexual couples.

“Businesses would grind to a halt, and social cohesion decline, as religious fundamentalists of all hues claimed the right to discriminate on faith grounds. Our equality laws would soon be in shreds. Discrimination would become rampant again. It would be hugely damaging to harmonious community relations,” said Mr Tatchell.

About The Author

Eric Ethington
Eric Ethington has been specializing in political messaging, communications strategy, and public relations for more than a decade. Originally hailing from Salt Lake City, he now works in Boston for a social justice think tank. Eric’s writing, advocacy work, and research have been featured on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CNBC, the New York Times, The Guardian, and The Public Eye magazine. He’s worked as a reporter, radio host, activist and electoral campaign strategist. Follow him on Twitter @EricEthington

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  1. I think the thing is, if they insist on couples be married, then we should have marriage equality in the UK.

    However civil unions in the UK are meant to be the same as marriages so if this couple were married in a civil partnership the argument should have been over long before it reached the Crown Court.

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