hotel-owners from Cornwall who are still fighting a legal battle
after they denied a gay couple a double room have said that they
are now dependent on charity to survive.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull
refused to let Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall, who are in a civil
partnership, stay together in a double room in their hotel in
Marazion, Cornwall, saying that it was against their beliefs. They
had previously also turned away heterosexual unmarried couples. The
couple were fined £3600 in January 2011 after a judge ruled that
they had behaved unlawfully (News,
21 January 2011).
The Bulls later failed in
their attempt to appeal against the ruling. Last year, however,
they won the right to have their case heard in the Supreme Court.
It is due to be heard this autumn. Their defence has been funded by
the Christian Institute.
Mrs Bull said that, owing
to the publicity, their business had almost completely dried up.
"But for the grace of God, we would be in the gutter - we are
relying on charity. But God has been faithful: just when things
seem at their worst, and we haven't had anything for weeks and
weeks, a cheque turns up in the post."
The couple have also
received hate-mail, and their home and garden have been
Mrs Bull said that, if it
had not been for their faith, they would have given up by now. "But
we have to make a stand, even if we fail ultimately, because who
knows what God will do with it? When we started the business in
1986, we gave it over to God, and that is how we have lived every
She said that, although
Bibles were left open in all the hotel's bedrooms, faith was not
"pushed" on guests. "We never intended our ban on unmarried couples
to be just directed at homosexuals - we don't let any unmarried
couples stay in a double bed."
Mrs Bull said that,
despite the abuse that she and her husband had suffered, they did
not think of themselves as persecuted. "That word isn't right for
us. But I have thought: what made the Christian martyrs stick to
their guns? It was the truth. And it's plain to us what the truth
is in this - it's in the Bible. There is no wriggle room in it at
The couple have been advised to form a not-for-profit company,
allowing them to specify that guests abide by their beliefs.