Bandits Bulldoze Bulls's Business in Bed and Breakfast Bedlam Blowup in Bristol

Martyn Hall and Steve Preddy
I'll say anything for an alliterative headline. Why can't I get a job at the Mail or the Star? Looks like its going to be one of those gay days.

Q. When is a civil partnership the same as marriage?

A. When a judge says so. That's according to a verdict at Bristol County Court.

Q. When is a civil partnership not the same as a marriage?

A. When the Government says so.

My thoughts on this in purple, bold.

Courtesy of Daily Mail

'Two Christian hotel owners punished for refusing a bed to a gay couple claimed yesterday that their religion is being suppressed. Peter and Hazelmary Bull said Christianity had been pushed to the margins of society, and added: ‘Some people are more equal than others.’
They spoke out after a landmark court decision awarded £1,800 each to civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy, who were denied a double room under the Bulls’ policy of allowing only married couples to share a bed in the hotel that is also their home.

The ruling by a judge in Bristol sealed the supremacy of gay rights over Christian belief under the Sexual Orientation Regulations pushed through by Tony Blair four years ago. The laws prevent discrimination against homosexuals by businesses and state organisations, but have had the knock-on effect of requiring Christians who run small concerns to set their principles and beliefs aside if they wish to stay in business [which is ironic, because that's exactly what Tony Blair did...].

Now we get to the important bold and underlined bit...

And Judge Andrew Rutherford also broke new ground by insisting that in the eyes of the law there is no difference between a civil partnership and a marriage. Although civil partnership conveys precisely the same rights and privileges on a gay couple as marriage does on heterosexuals, the Labour ministers who introduced civil partnerships always said they were merely contracts and did not amount to marriage [What does it matter what Labour MPs said? It's what is on the Statute book that counts and how that law is interpreted in court. Oh, you mean everyone was misled apart from the interested party of the legislation - Stonewall. How very Tony Blair. Meanwhile, I see there has been another suicide bombing in Iraq today...].

But the judge said: ‘There is no material difference between marriage and a civil partnership.’

His ruling may lead to a long legal battle if the Bulls appeal, with a possibility that the case will go as far as the country’s highest tribunal, the Supreme Court.

The Bulls were sued over their married-only policy on double beds. They were ordered to pay each of the victims £1,800 in compensation for the ‘hurt and embarrassment they suffered’. Outside court, Mrs Bull said the verdict had serious implications for the religious liberty of Christians who would be forced to act against ‘deeply and genuinely held beliefs’.
The 66-year-old and her husband, 70, live at the seven-bedroom Chymorvah Private Hotel near Penzance, Cornwall, and have only ever allowed married couples to share a double room since they opened for business 25 years ago. They had accepted a booking for a double room from Mr Preddy, 38, believing he would be staying with his wife. It was only when he arrived at the £80-a-night hotel with his 46-year-old civil partner that they were turned away.
IT workers Mr Preddy and Mr Hall described themselves as feeling ‘angry and humiliated’ and contacted police, who helped them find alternative accommodation. The two men deny suggestions that their booking was a set-up on behalf of gay rights group Stonewall, which had previously written to the hotel owners about their rules.
Christian hotel owners, Mr and Mrs Bull
Mrs Bull said: ‘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.’
She left Bristol County Court to visit her husband in hospital where he was due to have triple heart bypass surgery yesterday. Their legal battle was aided by the Christian Institute think tank, while Mr Preddy and Mr Hall were supported by the taxpayer-funded state equality body the Equality and Human Rights Commission.  Mr and Mrs Bull, who have previously admitted they are struggling to pay debts, are facing financial ruin after being ordered to pay most of the costs of the commission [activist gays get financial/legal support from EHR Commission, Christians have to pay costs of EHR Commission. All sounds fair and 'equal'...]

Mr Hall and Mr Preddy, from Bristol, had asked for £5,000 damages, claiming sexual orientation discrimination. In his 12-page ruling, Judge Rutherford said that in the past 50 years social attitudes had changed. He added that the Bulls ‘have the right to manifest their religion or beliefs’ and said both sides in the case ‘hold perfectly honourable and respectable, albeit wholly contrary, views’.

However, he concluded that the Bulls ‘discriminate on the basis of marital status’. ‘There is no material difference between marriage and a civil partnership. If that is right, then upon what basis do the defendants draw a distinction if it is not on sexual orientation? [Could it be because the State has no moral right to decide that two men can be married? Could it also be because even the State does not recognise this situation as a marriage - hence the term, 'civil partnership'?] The only conclusion which can be drawn is that the refusal to allow [the claimants] to occupy the double room which they had booked was because of their sexual orientation and that this is direct discrimination.’

Mr Preddy said: ‘The judge has confirmed what we already know – that in these circumstances our civil partnership has the same status in law as a marriage between a man and a woman, and that, regardless of each person’s religious beliefs, no one is above the law.’ Keith Porteous Wood, of the National Secular Society, said: ‘The court has resisted the pernicious claim that exercising conscience, be it Christian or any other kind, is a carte blanche to defy the law.’ But Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute, said: ‘This ruling is further evidence that equality laws are being used as a sword rather than a shield. Christians are being sidelined.’

So, you got that? When Christians complain that civil partnerships are immoral because they create something that looks rather like gay marriage, they are told, "No, they're civil partnerships. They're not the same as marriage!" When Christians are taken to court they are told, "There is no difference between civil partnerships and marriage." Now it all makes sense!


Physiocrat said…
Funny that, I was stuck in the same bed as a male friend in a b&b on Calvinst Isle of Skye in the early 1970s.

I don't think it crossed the proprietor's mind that there would be any hanky-panky and the rooms were too small for separate beds.
Paul Smeaton said…
This is a completely unrelated comment, I only post it here to alert you to my blog post today. As you're the only other Catholic blogger I've seen writing football posts I thought you would enjoy it. God bless!
Bulls Hit by commonsense said…
You say:

"the State has no moral right to decide that two men can be married" and "even the State does not recognise this situation as a marriage - hence the term, 'civil partnership'".

Firstly, what is it with the term 'authority', used by suicude bombers, repressed gays, Catholics, and idiots of all stamps who never care to define it?

Secondly, if the state has no moral 'authority' to decide two men can be married (an absurd petitio principii), it has no authority to decide that a man and a woman can be married. But the state does not claim to have moral authority in this matter. If gay marriage is wrong, then we will find out when we die and Vishnu judges us. Until then, the state is letting men who want to marry do so. Why do you care (aside fromt he fact that you haven't found a good husband yet)?

Thirdly, the state only uses the term 'civil partnership' to fool imbeciles like you who believe in the need to keep arbitrary customs sacred (which not following them yourself).

Fourthly, Wohoooo - Gays win again!!! Man this is getting embarrassing, so many victories for common sense. Let's just hope by the end of the century 'Christianity' and, ahem, it's 'authority' is confined to museums.

Fifthly, no matter how morally repugnant most British citizens may believe Christianity to be, we are a reasonable nation and would not wish to prevent married Christians staying in our hotels. So, while we (rightly) feel the perverse institution of religion is to be abhorred by all morally upstanding people, we find that the law should nonetheless defend the rights of marginal groups such as Catholics and other related species of morally and intellectually deficient persons to stay in hotels
georgem said…
I'm not sure I'd be that critical of the judge. He did not give an immediate judgement but took some time coming to his conclusion.

That usually indicates a judge has to think long and hard about giving the correct judgement according to the law as it stands; in this case the equality law enacted by Parliament. He had no choice.

Taken at face value his stroll down memory lane is rather curious, as it appears to represent a personal viewpoint.
Changes in the overriding opinions of society 50 years ago, 10 years ago, or more recently cannot/must not play any part in reaching a judicial decision.

However, I have a sneaking suspicion that what the judge was actually saying, in a rather oblique way, is that the law is an ass.

Bringing the case at all may turn out to be something of a Pyrrhic victory for the gay lobby. I mean where does this place the Gay Men's Chorus?
Patricius said…
Much as I abhor the whole homosexualist agenda and regard the judgement as more than unfortunate I find the whole idea of getting involved in other people's sex lives as distasteful as "in-yer-face" homosexualism. It all seems somewhat Basil Fawlty....
I agree. Just find the CP v marriage thing confusing.
Harry's Blog said…
You really ought to read this judgement, which is only the latest in a long line of judgements defining the balance between religious rights and sexual orientation rights, normally in favour of the former, since the former are immutable and the latter just a lifestyle choice.

there are two salient points in it:-

1. The law (passed by sustantial majorities in both House of Parliament) says in words of one syllable that civil partnership (normally now called gay marriage) is EXACTLY THE SAME as straight marriage - the Bulls could have restricted the married of either orientation from double rooms if they wanted but they could not allow a straight married couple to share a room and not allow a gay married couple to do so. Quite straightforward actually.

Secondly and more seriously for the likes of you, it is made clear that whatever the past may be judeao Christian morality has no part to play in modern law-making, which is of course is subject to the sovereignty of the Queen in Parliament.

I really think it would be better if you just accepted that whatever the Catechism of the Catholic Church may say society has moved on.
Tony Sidaway said…
There's one major problem with your argument, Laurence. Look at Commons Hansard 12 Oct 2004, Column 177 and you'll see Jacqui Smith respond to a question from Ann Widdecombe, telling her that yes the government did indeed intend civil partnerships to provide the same legal rights and responsibilities as marriage. The government was open in its intent at the time, and the subsequent Equality Act has reinforced the legal equivalence. If you weren't awake to what was happening at the time, too bad. This was discussed in public and the Civil Partnership bill passed both Houses on that basis.