Challenging discrimination of a homosexual couple by a hotel

Case name: Bull and another (Appellants) v Hall and another (Respondents)

When a private hotel run by committed Christians refused the booking of a double bedroom by a homosexual couple in a civil partnership, we provided legal assistance and the couple successfully won their claim of direct discrimination. 

Legal issue

Could owners of a private hotel who were committed Christians refuse the booking of a double bedroom by a homosexual couple in a civil partnership?

Background

Mr and Mrs Bull sincerely believe that sexual intercourse outside traditional marriage is sinful.

They operate a policy at their hotel, stated on their online booking form, that double bedrooms are available only to ‘heterosexual married couples’.

Mr Hall and Mr Preddy are a homosexual couple in a civil partnership. They booked a double room.  On arrival at the hotel, they were told they could not stay in the double room and they left.

They brought a case of sexual orientation discrimination against Mr and Mrs Bull in the Bristol County Court,  where the judge held that their actions directly discriminated against Mr Hall and Mr Preddy.

The hotel owners appealed the case in the Supreme Court.

Why we were involved

We supported the argument that the refusal to provide the couple with a double bedroom was unlawful.

What we did

We provided financial support by using our powers under section 28 of the Equality Act 2006.

What happened

The Supreme Court unanimously dismisses the appeal. It decided that Mr and Mrs Bull’s policy constitutes direct discrimination and indirect discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. 

The indirect discrimination was not justified. 

Who will benefit and how

The case confirmed the protection against sexual orientation discrimination in the provision of services.

 

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