Peter and Hazelmary Bull, the Christian owners of a bed and breakfast in Cornwall, appeared in court Monday to defend their refusal to allow a gay couple to share a room on the grounds of religious faith.
The Guardian reports on the proceedings at Bristol county court in the case, which could hold significant implications for religious liberty arguments in the U.K.
"In the first case of its kind, Peter and Hazelmary Bull denied the allegation that they discriminated against Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy because they were gay, but insisted their faith meant they believed unmarried couples should not share a room under their roof," reports the Guardian.
Preddy and Hall, who are civil partners, are seeking £5,000 in damages under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations. They claim they had no idea about the policy before arriving for their stay at the inn near Penzance in September 2008.
In court Monday, Mrs. Bull said she failed to inform Preddy of the policy when she took his reservation over the telephone because she was ill.
Meanwhile, a manager for the inn tried to suggest that the Bulls had been set up by Preddy and Hall, claiming that the Stonewall group, to which the men belong, knew about the inn’s policy.