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Business dries up for gay-judgment couple

by
05 April 2013

by a staff reporter

THE Christian 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, 28, 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 vandalised.

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 day since."

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 all."

The couple have been advised to form a not-for-profit company, allowing them to specify that guests abide by their beliefs.

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