Gay couple win hotel discrimination claim

The Supreme Court has today confirmed that Christian hotel owners unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple in declining them access to a double room.  Karon Monaghan QC and Henrietta Hill represented Liberty, who intervened in the case.  Henrietta also represented the Claimants in Morgan and Black v Wilkinson, in which a gay couple succeeded in a similar claim against the owner of a bed and breakfast establishment.

 

In 2011 Bristol County Court held that Peter and Hazelmary Bull had discriminated against gay partners, Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall, and ordered them to pay a total of £3,600 damages. The Court of Appeal upheld the ruling and today the Supreme Court dismissed the appellants’ further appeal.  All five Supreme Court justices concluded that the Bulls were liable for discrimination but there was a difference between their Lordships as to whether the discrimination in question was direct or indirect.  Liberty intervened in the case on the grounds of the complex issues it raised relating to the correct balance to be struck between religious rights and the right to freedom from discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.  Karon Monaghan QC and Henrietta represented Liberty in their intervention and argued in support of the Claimants, and that the nature of the discrimination in question was direct, alternatively indirect.

 

In 2012 Reading County Court concluded that Suzanne Wilkinson had similarly discriminated against gay partners Michael Black and John Morgan and ordered her to pay damages.  Henrietta represented the Claimants at first instance and in the Court of Appeal.  Permission to appeal to the Supreme Court was granted but Mrs Wilkinson withdrew her appeal before it could be heard, for more information please see here.

 

Henrietta was instructed by James Welch, legal director of Liberty, in both cases.

 

For press coverage, see here: BBC, The Telegraph, ITV, Law GazetteSky News and Huffington Post

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