A judge of the Supreme Court who ruled against hotel owners from Marazion for turning away a gay couple said her decision might have been wrong. Baroness Hale, Supreme Court deputy president, called for a rethink on religious and gay rights on June 20th after rejecting the arguments pitted by Peter and Hazelmary Bull, owners of Chymorvah Guest House, six months ago.
The Bulls had declined to provide a double room to Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy at their Cornish guesthouse in 2008 because the two were an unmarried gay couple. The incident led to several court cases that eventually culminated in defeat for the Bulls at the Supreme Court where a panel of five judges ruled that the rights of homosexual couples are more important than the conscience of Christians.
However, Hale along with her fellow judges have now said that the Bulls will not have to bear legal costs and the laws that negate Christian consciences must develop a ‘conscience clause’ for religious Christians like the Bulls.
“An example of treatment which Christians may feel to be unfair is the recent case of Bull versus Hall. Should we be developing an explicit requirement upon providers of employment, goods and services to make reasonable accommodation for the manifestation of religious beliefs?” urged Hall.
Hazelmary was very welcoming of Hall’s decision and hoped that other people in the same position would learn from this recent development.
“It is too late for us, which is a shame, but at the same time I hope her comments will restore some kind of balance back to the issue… I am glad that something positive looks as though it will come out of this although I would not call it a victory… I am relieved for the Christian Institute [which has paid for the Bulls’ court costs] as the costs have been enormous… We could never have taken this to the Supreme Court and got what now looks like something reasonable without their backing,” she said.
The Bulls hope to resume business at Chymorvah, which they put out for sale in 2013 after failing to attract guests or advertize.
“We have been miraculously rescued by someone who is paying our mortgage… On the financial side of things that is a huge relief as at one stage it looked as though we were going to be left without a home; trade is still down on what it once was but we are happy to be able to be back doing a job we have always loved,” she added.
Ironically, Hazelmary concluded that she is not homophobic and cannot fathom why two different lifestyles cannot live together peacefully.
Photo Credit: The Guardian