Supreme Court upholds gay discrimination ruling

Two Christian hotel owners, Mr and Mrs Bull, have failed in a bid to overturn a Bristol Crown Court ruling that decreed their hotel policy to be directly discriminatory on sexual orientation grounds. The policy, as stated on the hotel’s website, declared that only ‘heterosexual married couples’ could stay in double bedrooms. Mr and Mrs Bull had previously appealed to the Court of Appeal where their case was dismissed. In addition to establishing grounds for direct discrimination, the Supreme Court found that the appellant’s right of freedom to manifest their religion (Article 9 of European Convention on Human Rights) was not infringed by Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.

The respondents, Mr Hall and Mr Preddy (a homosexual couple), had originally booked two nights in a double bedroom unaware of the hotel’s policy. They were turned away from the room, and were left to find alternative accommodation. Mr Hall and Mr Preddy originally brought proceedings against the appellants. Lady Hale gave the leading judgment as the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeal.