Stonewall hails ruling in B&B test case
Stonewall has welcomed a landmark court ruling in favour of a gay couple refused a hotel room by the owners of a hotel in Cornwall.
Civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy had attempted to book a room last September at the Chymorvah Hotel near Penzance in Cornwall.
They used the 2007 Sexual Orientation Regulations, secured by Stonewall to prevent discrimination against gay people in the delivery of public and commercial services, to sue owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull.
Hall and Preddy were awarded £1,800 each in damages at Bristol County Court.
“When we booked the hotel we just wanted a relaxing weekend away, something that thousands of other couples do every weekend,” the couple said in a statement.
“Because we wanted to bring our new dog we checked he would be welcome. It didn’t even cross our minds that in 2008 in Britain we needed to ask if we would be.
“Judge Rutherford has found our treatment was an act of direct discrimination and therefore a breach of the law.”
Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said: “We’re delighted with the outcome of this test case. You can’t turn away people from a hotel because they’re black or Jewish and in 2011 you shouldn’t be able to demean them by turning them away because they’re gay either.
“Religious freedom shouldn’t be used as a cloak for prejudice. For the estimated £30,000 that this court case cost Mr and Mrs Bull and their supporters during the last month, Oxfam or Save the Children could have vaccinated 100,000 people against meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa. That would have been a more Christian way to spend their money during the festive season.”