Christian guesthouse owners will be able to turn away gay couples
THE CHRISTIAN owners of a Marazion guesthouse who were taken to court after they refused a gay couple a double room will now legally be allowed to turn away unmarried straight and gay couples.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull have changed the status of the Chymorvah guesthouse to a not-for-profit company, allowing them to specify that anyone staying with them should abide by their Bible-based beliefs.
The couple revealed details of the change this week, in their first in-depth interview with The Cornishman since turning away civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy from their guesthouse almost five years ago.
Mr and Mrs Bull, who have run the guesthouse for 27 years, were later ordered to pay £3,600 in damages to the couple and their civil case has been the subject of endless media speculation.
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Since then, the guesthouse owners have appealed against the decision in the Court of Appeal, which they lost, and are now set to have the case heard in the Supreme Court.
In the meantime, Mrs Bull said they wanted to be able to continue with their policy of not allowing unmarried heterosexual couples and homosexual couples to share a double bed under their roof.
Mrs Bull said: "The Christian Institute advised us on how to form a limited company, which we were able to do by stating in the articles of the company that anyone coming to stay here would be expected to abide by our Bible-based beliefs.
"When we had the trial, there were a number of local B&Bs who said, 'we are watching this very closely because we want to be able to say no sometimes', not necessarily to that particular group of people but just on certain occasions."
The couple's defence was financed by The Christian Institute, a charity which says it believes the case could have far-reaching ramifications.
A spokesman for the institute said: "The finding against them still stands. They had to find a way of still running a business so they can pay their mortgage without compromising their beliefs. The advice they got was that they should set up a not-for-profit company that only provides a service to Christians."
"All we wanted was to be able to support marriage, to say 'no' here." The Bulls give their first big interview to The Cornishman. See page 8.