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Religious Belief Does Not Justify Discrimination
The Christian beliefs of the owner of a bed and breakfast have led to her fighting and losing an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
The woman refused to allow a gay couple to stay overnight in a double-bedded room after initially accepting their booking. The couple would have been happy to sleep in separate rooms but there were no spare rooms. She therefore refunded their deposit and they left.
The couple sued the owner, claiming that her refusal to accommodate them was because of a ‘protected characteristic’ – their sexual orientation.
Having disposed of the owner’s argument that discrimination law did not apply to her premises, the Court then considered her assertion that it was not the couple’s sexual orientation but their likely sexual behaviour to which she objected. Since sexual behaviour is not a ‘protected characteristic’, she argued that this justified her decision to exclude the couple.
The Court rejected that argument also.