"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Gay couple win B&B room ban case

Here’s a bit of cheering news. A gay couple refused a double room in a Penzance B&B, have won their discrimination case.
Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy had booked the room in September of 2008, but were prevented from using it by the B&B’s owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull.
A Christian couple, the Bulls defence was that their
double-bed policy was based on our sincere beliefs about marriage
However Judge Rutherford said that, in the past fifty years, social attitudes in Britain had changed and it was inevitable that laws would "cut across" some people's beliefs.
Social attitudes notwithstanding, civil partnership is supposed to be legally equivalent to marriage, which makes the Bull’s actions clearly discriminatory. Although they did not believe "unmarried couples" should share a room the Bulls were in fact failing to recognise the status of Hall and Preddy’s civil partnership.
Interestingly we have no evidence that the Bulls were in the habit of rejecting unmarried heterosexual couples, which is a shame because if they weren’t it would be very telling.
The Judge has given leave for appeal so this story may run for a bit yet, but predictably there are some Christians who are missing the point of this very sound judgement. This from Mike Judge of the Christian Institute
Peter and Hazelmary were sued with the full backing of the government-funded Equality Commission. Christians are being sidelined.
Sidelined? Really? If he means they are being prevented from ignoring anti-discrimination law just because it contradicts their homophobic beliefs then yes, let’s have them sidelined. There are laws in this country which violate my principles too, that doesn’t mean I can escape justice if I am caught breaking them, and neither should it.


  1. Yup, the only people that should have the right to turn down any customer is the owners of actual religious establishments, not those that have no other excuse other than they believe.

    Wish stuff like this would happen in America, but 9/10 times it happens anyway. Mainly because so few states actually have those anti-discrimination laws, or the laws are very weak.

  2. In principle at least, discrimination of this kind in America could be handled under the Civil Rights Act. You'd have to have case law establishing sexual orientation as a suspect class first, of course, which is the tricky bit. I think this may change soon, however, if the Olsen/Boies case against California Proposition 8 of 2008 makes it to the Supreme Court and Justice Kennedy jumps the right way.