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Gay-ban B&B couple: We'll fight court ruling all way to Brussels

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 13, 2012

  • Peter and Hazelmary Bull

  • Peter and Hazelmary Bull: 'We do not want to stand before our Lord Jesus and have him say 'why did you give up'.'

The Christian owners of a Cornish guesthouse ordered to pay damages for turning a gay couple away say they are ready to take their case to the Supreme Court and ultimately to Europe.

Last month, Peter and Hazelmary Bull lost their latest legal challenge against a finding that they broke equality laws.

The couple, who run the Chymorvah House in Marazion, say that after a period of reflection they have decided to continue with their battle.

"We do not want to stand before our Lord Jesus and have him say 'why did you give up'," said Mrs Bull.

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"Taking the case to the Supreme Court is a natural progression. We cannot just leave it where it is."

The couple have been supported throughout by the Christian Institute, which has footed most of their legal bills.

Mrs Bull, 66, said that they were in constant discussion with the organisation, but conceded that should they lose the next round, they may decide to appeal to the European Court of Justice.

"We need to apply for leave to appeal first, because it wasn't given last time. But if we get it we will go on. It could even go as far as Brussels."

The Bull's legal battle began in 2008, when they turned Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy away from their seaside bed and breakfast.

They denied their stance was anti-homosexual and said their deeply held Christian beliefs meant they only allowed married couples to share a double bed.

The two men subsequently brought an action under discrimination laws and were awarded £1,800 each.

Last month, the Court of Appeal upheld this decision.

Mike Judge, from the Christian Institute, said they would continue to support the Bulls.

"I think this is a leading case, and it may even go to the European Court of Human Rights if we are not successful at the Supreme Court." Mrs Bull said the fight had left the couple emotionally and financially exhausted.

"We could not have got this far without the support of the Christian Institute.

"I couldn't even afford the bus fare into Penzance, let alone the legal bills that have mounted up."

As a result of the adverse publicity, bookings at the guest house were down by half last year.

Mr and Mrs Bull say they have been subjected to a hate campaign and repeated vandalism attacks.

"We have run this guest house since 1986 and it's always been a very good business," she said.

"Last year we had the worst year ever and bookings dropped by 50 per cent. That's appalling.

"We have been suffering a lot of vandalism. Each time we put in a claim the premiums go up and it costs £300 for the excess.

"We have had two lampposts sawn off and the wooden steps which are our beach access were totally smashed. We've run up huge debts in this case and it has been very hard."

Mrs Bull said they have received a huge amount of support from the gay community, which feels the case makes them "look like victims".

"We are not against homosexuals, everything we have done is in defence of marriage.

We believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and is for life. It is what the Bible teaches."

 
 

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