Penzance hoteliers facing bankruptcy after discriminating against gay guests
The Christian hoteliers who were fined for not allowing a gay couple to share a double room say they are facing financial ruin and may lose their home and business.
Hazelmary Bull said she and husband Peter are in debt, unable to pay their mortgage and risk facing further prosecution if they stand by their religious views.
She also revealed she has received more than 50 obscene and abusive phone calls since the landmark court decision last week.
Civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy were awarded £1,800 each after being denied a double room under the Bulls' policy of allowing only married couples to share a bed in the Penzance hotel that is also their home.
The Bulls argued that, as devout Christians, they let their double rooms only to heterosexual married couples and that their beliefs prevented them from allowing same-sex couples to share a double bed.
Speaking to the Daily Mail on Saturday, Mrs Bull said that she did not want to tell husband Peter, 71, about the decision as he was still in hospital following a triple heart bypass and valve replacement surgery.
She said: "I want to hold back for a little while, because he's so ill. He doesn't know because the hospital has kept him sedated for two days.
"The uncertainty of the future would take Peter down. He doesn't cope well with stress.
"I feel so upset. I don't want us to leave Chymorvah like this. It feels like we are being driven out.
"We have put everything into it and if we lose it we'll be left with nothing. We'll have no money to buy a new home and who will give us a mortgage at our age?"
The Bulls bought the property in 1986 for £81,000 and ploughed the money they'd made from their first B&B in Cornwall into it, renovating and updating the building.
They now say they are incapable of paying their £2,800-a-month mortgage, and have come to an agreement with their lender to pay less for now.
But Mrs Bull said that with the hotel closed since Christmas and not due to re-open until Easter it will become impossible to meet.
"Our lenders have been very sympathetic, but there will come a time when we will either have to sell or, if that doesn't happen in this gloomy market, lose our home," she said.
"Even if we do reopen, things will be very tricky, because we are not prepared to compromise our beliefs. I would not be able to look God in the eye if I did."
Mrs Bull said that as well as more than 400 messages of support, they had also been bombarded by abusive messages and people claiming to be gay couples trying to make bookings.
"Christians are definitely being marginalised," she added. "There is no question about it and we have to be careful that we don't exchange one brand of oppression for another."
The hoteliers had their legal battle funded by charity The Christian Institute, and are considering appealing the court's decision.