Sunday, 23 January 2011

No room at the inn

A court has decided that two Christians who wouldn't allow a gay couple to book a double room in their hotel were acting unlawfully.

They had insisted that their religious objection to unmarried couples sharing a room entitled them to turn the pair away.

The court said no, a civil partnership had the same legal status as a heterosexual marriage and therefore the owners of the hotel in Penzance, Cornwall, were clearly discriminating against Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy.

It's amazing to me that people running a hotel feel they have the right to tell their guests what they should or should not be doing in their hotel room (except for wrecking the place, obviously).

Of course they're free to hold whatever religious beliefs they like, however preposterous we may think them. But to enforce those beliefs on their guests regardless of their guests' own beliefs and preferences, is simply dictatorial and unChristian.

It's particularly absurd when they're running a hotel and inviting couples to stay with them. If they really don't want gays under their roof, shouldn't they be running some entirely different business - like selling ice cream?

I'm surprised they don't also try to regulate the behaviour of their heterosexual guests. I mean, who knows what deviant, blasphemous nocturnal activities they might be up to? What would the Good Lord think of all those strange fetishes and foibles your average straight couple go in for? A bunch of miserable sinners, surely?

Pic: Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall

35 comments:

Grannymar said...

I wonder if they had an ice cream stall, would they ask the customers if they were gay? I also wonder if they checked out how many of their suppliers of food and goods for the hotel were gay?

Nick said...

Grannymar - Goodness yes, they wouldn't want any of THAT sort buying their ice creams....

Baino said...

Oh Nick this reminds me. My Grandfather used to have a small private hotel in Manchester and was taken to court for denying entry to a black guy. I'd forgotten all about it. The guy never got to stay but he won the discrimination case. Never ceases to amaze me why sexual preference is an issue. Nobody has EVER asked me if Im heterosexual. Why ask if anyone's gay?

Nick said...

Baino - That reminds me of a popular slogan in the gay movement in the sixties: How Dare You Assume I'm Heterosexual.

nursemyra said...

A just result

Roses said...

I hope those B&B owners also demanded to see the marriage certificates of all of the Smiths & Joneses who no doubt stayed with them over the years.

One would hope with such fine moral standards they also kept a beady eye out for adulterers as well.

Excuse me, I think I need to have my tongue surgically removed from my cheek.

Nick said...

Myra - Absolutely. Though there's a possibility the hotel owners may appeal.

Roses - Good point. All those supposedly married couples, are they really what they seem? And I hope none of them are closet atheists....

e said...

When it comes to the array of sexual behaviors available, these people are starting a slippery slope.

Will they say only monogamous, straight married couples can stay but only if they don't indulge in X, Y or Z ?

That would reduce their business and profits substantially and where would it end?

The whole thing is, aside from unlawful, preposterous. It is great to see the courts upholding rights rather than squelching them.

secret agent woman said...

This reminds me of an incident when two female friends of mine got married. (Not legally in my state, but still in a church wedding.) The woman who made their wedding cake did a beautiful job. But as one of the women picked it up, the baker made a point of telling her that she thought what they were doing was a sin. Not too big a sin, apparently, to take their money. I was astounded at that little bit of nastiness on someone's wedding day. I'd believe I'd have insisted on getting my money back and gone cake-less.

Nick said...

e - Exactly. When you start being censorious about other people's personal behaviour, where does it end? As I say, if they have views like that, they're in the wrong business.

Secret Agent - I agree, I'd also have given their cake back, given them a piece of my mind and hot-footed it to another bakery.

rummuser said...

There used to be a sign board prominently displayed in all public places like hotels, restaurants, bars etc reading "Rights of admission reserved." I don't see much of that now a days. Is there a law prohibiting such boards? Had the owner displayed this and turned them down, would the court have still given the same verdict?

Nick said...

Ramana - Good point. I think some places still display such notices (pubs, cinemas etc). I really don't know what legal rights that allows to the proprietors. But presumably equality laws would override that notice in cases such as the Preddy/Hall one. It would be interesting to see a test case.

Eryl said...

I hope they do appeal, and it goes all the way to the House of Lords, and they get crushed. Pompous, dictatorial, selfish fools!

Macy said...

Nick - I thought the owners were being unduly censorious too, until I read more about this case. Apparently any unmarried couples, whether homosexual or heterosexual were only offered a twin bedded room.

The gay couple were offerred a twin room, but chose to go to court instead.

I think this makes it a bit more complicated, as they weren't discriminating against anyone rather than adhering to their own strict religious beliefs.

Nick said...

Eryl - I couldn't put it better myself!

Macy - I hadn't read about that aspect of it. Pretty pointless surely, as you can just push the twin beds together! In fact adjacent twin beds are common in Italian hotel rooms. But I don't quite understand why they say they were turned away if they were actually offered a twin bedroom. I'm confused....

Nick said...

Macy - I've just read another report that says they were offered single rooms rather than a double room and refused to take them. That makes a bit more sense. The report said that unmarried heterosexuals were also offered single rooms only.

Macy said...

After which they could presumably nip down the corridor after lights out???
Same as unmarried heteros?

It's a complicated area where religious beliefs need to coexist with legal rights. I'm not sure that compensation for the gay couple was in order.

Nick said...

Macy - Exactly. Or would they have been locked into their single rooms until breakfast?

My view is that people should not foist their personal religious beliefs on other people with different beliefs. And the law is right to forbid that attempted compulsion.

tattytiara said...

Are we then to assume that they'd just be quietly accepting if an establishment owner told them that it was against his or her religion to serve Christians?

Nick said...

Tattytiara - I like it! Or if it was against their religion to serve oldies? Or people living in Penzance? Or hotel owners?

Wisewebwoman said...

I love to chortle at this obsession of placement of the naughty bits.

Usually from well-closeted whatevers. (case in point preachers in the US, anti-gay rights politicians).

The Invisible Cosmic Housekeeper must be rolling on the floor all of the time.

I think these B&B Cornish Hens are in the wrong biz dictating the certification and sleeping habits of their paying customers.

Wowser!
XO
WWW

Nick said...

W3 - I'm baffled as to why they decided to run a hotel when they're so sniffy about what their guests are doing while on the premises.

Los Angelista said...

Totally discriminatory on the part of the owners. They should've let the couple stay and then just prayed for their souls. ;)

Nick said...

Liz - Sounds like a good solution. And maybe Steven and Martyn could pray for the hoteliers' souls?

Scarlet Blue said...

To be honest I'm just looking forward to your next post which I hear is rumoured to be about your strange fetishes and foibles...
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - Oh, I couldn't possibly reveal my exotic fetishes to a young lady of such tender sensitivities. It could distress you beyond measure.

Scarlet Blue said...

Oh go on... in private then... behind the egg stained curtains at the end of the hallway... I will be waiting.
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - Very well, if you're willing to risk the emotional consequences. I shall bring some strong sedatives and my first aid kit, in case of emergency.

Just out of curiosity, why are your hallway curtains egg-stained?

Scarlet Blue said...

An incident on Halloween 2006... it's a long story...
Sx

Liz said...

Homosexuality is by far the worst sin. Because there are, as you know, degrees of sin, and homosexuality ranks at number 1. Fiddling your taxes hardly counts at all because that's barely a sin; I mean everyone does it so it can't be a serious sin.

(How well do you know me? Do I have to explain my comment?)

Nick said...

Scarlet - That's okay, I have plenty of time....

Liz - Er, yes, I find your comment puzzling. Are you serious about homosexuality being the number one sin? As opposed to say, murder or torture?

The problem is that we all have different ideas of what amounts to a sin/ outrageous act. But many religious believers insist they and they alone can identify the sinners.

Liz said...

Okay, nick, sorry, you don't know me well enough!
In God's eyes all sin - from taking a paper-clip from work to murder - is sin; there aren't degrees of sin. And if you're going to ban homosexuals from your guesthouse then you should ban everyone for we are all sinners.
Perhaps I'd better do a blog post ...

Nick said...

Liz - Ah, now I understand. I'm not well versed enough in Christian beliefs. Or in the Liz mental outlook! The hotel owners clearly don't comprehend this definition of sin....

Liz said...

My blog post's up now!

My word verifier is lopyroun, which somehow seemed appropriate.

Nick said...

Liz - I'll take a look!