When Intolerance Turns Public
Peter and Hazel Bull, the Christian guesthouse owners who failed to overturn a £3,600 fine imposed on them for refusing to allow a gay couple to occupy a double room in their hotel, are taking their case to the Supreme Court, the highest court for civil cases in the UK.
The court of appeal had unanimously ruled that the owners of the Chymorvah House in Marazion, Cornwall, had acted unlawfully. The Christian Institute, who is backing their fight, offers this:
‘Not everyone will agree with Peter and Hazelmary’s beliefs, but a lot of people will think it is shame that the law doesn’t let them live and work according to their own values under their own roof. Something has gone badly wrong with our equality laws when good, decent people like Peter and Hazelmary are penalised but extremist hate preachers are protected.’
Which is fair enough (despite the peculiar ad hominem structure of the statement) if the Bulls had not decided to open a hotel.
Surely if you enter the public arena by offering a service to all the people of the land, you make no exception to whom it is offered? This has nothing to do with religion but equality. I wonder what would happen if the pair refuse a black couple? I personally choose not to believe that a man can survive in the desert without food and water for a month and a half, or that every creature on the planet could fit into a wooden boat built by two people, but if I was running a hotel I’d let the Bulls stay.
Why should tolerance only work in one direction?