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    Gay couple win discrimination case

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    ODN

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    A Christian couple who denied two gay men a double room in their hotel have lost their case in court.


    At the hearing, Judge Andrew Rutherford told Mr Bull, 70, and his wife, 66, that they had "acted unlawfully" for refusing Mr Hall and Mr Preddy, from Bristol, a room in their Penzance hotel in September 2008.


    Mr Hall and Mr Preddy were seeking up to £5,000 damages claiming sexual orientation discrimination under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.


    In his ruling, Judge Rutherford said social attitudes in Britain had changed over the last 50 years. He explained that some of the progressive views have offended sections of the population and in some cases cut across traditional religious beliefs.


    He said:"These laws have come into being because of changes in social attitudes. The standards and principles governing our behaviour which were unquestioningly accepted in one generation may not be so accepted in the next.


    "I am quite satisfied as to the genuineness of the defendants' beliefs and it is, I have no doubt, one which others also hold.


    "It is a very clear example of how social attitudes have changed over the years for it is not so very long ago that these beliefs of the defendants would have been those accepted as normal by society at large. Now it is the other way around."


    The Bulls had argued their long-standing policy of banning all unmarried couples - both heterosexual and gay - from sharing a bed at their Chymorvah Private Hotel in Marazion, near Penzance, Cornwall.


    At a hearing last month, the Bulls said their hotel policy was based on their beliefs about marriage and not a hostility to sexual orientation stating: "We accept that the Bible is the holy living word of God and we endeavour to follow it as far as we are able."


    Commenting on the ruling John Wadham, from the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: "The right of an individual to practise their religion and live out their beliefs is one of the most fundamental rights a person can have, but so is the right not to be turned away by a hotel just because you are gay."


    Judge Rutherford has awarded Mr Hall and Mr Preddy £1,800 each in damages.