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Gay couple wins discrimination suit

Jan. 18, 2011 at 3:59 PM

BRISTOL, England, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- A gay English couple who were refused a hotel room with a double bed won a lawsuit against the hotel owners.

Peter and Hazelmary Bull, proprietors of the Chymorvah Hotel near Penzance, said they did not honor the September 2008 reservation of Steven Preddy and his civil partner, Martyn Hall, both of Bristol, because as Christians they didn't think unmarried couples should share a room, the BBC reported Tuesday.

Preddy and Hall each were awarded $2,879 in damages by the Bristol County Court.

"When we booked to stay at the Chymorvah Hotel this was not, as some have suggested, a set up sponsored by a pressure group, we just wanted a relaxing weekend away -- something thousands of other couples in Britain do every weekend," said Preddy.

"Because we wanted to bring our new dog we checked whether he would be welcome. It didn't even cross our minds that in 2008 in Britain we needed to ask if we would be," he added.

Civil partners have the same rights as heterosexual couples under British law, the BBC reported.

The judge gave the defendants leave to appeal his ruling.

"Our double-bed policy was based on our sincere beliefs about marriage, not hostility to anybody," said Hazelmary Bull.

Because the hotel is a business that serves the public, it is subject to community standards concerning discrimination, said John Wadham, a director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

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