The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) has warmly welcomed the verdict in a discrimination case involving two Christian hoteliers.
Judge Andrew Rutherford in Bristol ruled that bed and breakfast owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull had acted against the law by refusing to allow gay civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy to share a room at their hotel in Cornwall in 2008.
The Rev Sharon Ferguson, Chief Executive of LGCM, commented: “This is a simple case of Equalities law being upheld. Thankfully we have laws in the UK which ensure equal treatment of all people no matter their ethnicity, sexual orientation and so on."
She continued: "For the judge to have ruled any differently would have meant that within the UK the only people who can argue exception from laws are those who do so on religious grounds. Equality legislation is designed to protect everyone - including people of faith."
"There seems to be a muddying of the waters in this case, as it has been argued that the Bulls have the right to refuse entry to whosoever they wish into their own home," said Ms Ferguson.
"This is entirely correct, but the bed and breakfast accommodation they own is a business and so no longer a private residence. Therefore this argument is both irrelevant and wrong.”
The LGCM chief declared: “Peter and Hazel Bull may well have sincere convictions about the nature of marriage – this ruling does not deny them these convictions. But if you are running a business you must make your services available to all without discrimination."
"As a Christian organisation we understand the fears of those who see religious faith being marginalised, but often this is not in fact the case. And excluding people, especially when our scriptures are full of exhortations to welcome the stranger (the one who is different from us), is no way to defend and uphold Christian values,” said the Rev Sharon Ferguson.