By Al Webb
Religion News Service
LONDON (RNS) Britain's Court of Appeal has ordered a pair of Christian innkeepers to pay 3,600 pounds ($5,800) in damages to a gay couple that was told they could not share a room in the couple's guesthouse.
The three-judge panel rejected an appeal by the innkeepers, Peter and Hazelmary Bull, in their conviction of telling Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy they could not share a double room.
The court in London told the couple, who ran the Chymorvah House in Cornwall, England, to pay the penalty.
The Bulls had argued that permitting Hall and Preddy to share a bedroom went against their Christian belief and that sex outside marriage was a "sin." The Hulls claimed they had not discriminated against the gay couple because of their homosexuality.
Their lawyer, James Dingemans, insisted his clients' guesthouse policy was directed toward a sexual practice, not sexual orientation, and applied to both straight and gay couples. Otherwise, the attorney said, the Hulls were convinced they would be involved in "promoting a sin."
Dingemans said that even if the innkeepers' beliefs were perhaps "outdated," they nonetheless were entitled to hold them.
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