Two rights ...

Geoff Miller (Letters, 3 December) asks whether the Supreme Court has discriminated against the owners of a hotel who were told that they could not refuse a double room to a same-sex couple.

But the right to equal treatment on grounds of religion does not create any right to discriminate against others.

Had Mr and Mrs Bull been refused a double room in a hotel because of their religious beliefs, they would undoubtedly have won a case for discrimination, and quite rightly.

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It would be irrelevant how genuinely or strongly the owner of that hotel believed the Bulls’ religion to be wrong.

But the Bulls were not refused any services; they were simply required in their business affairs not to discriminate against others. As Lady Hale, Supreme Court deputy president, said in her judgment in the case: “To permit someone to discriminate on the ground that he did not believe that persons of homosexual orientation should be treated equally with persons of heterosexual orientation would be to create a class of people who were exempt from discrimination legislation.

“We do not normally allow people to behave in a way which the law prohibits because they disagree with the law.”

Tim Hopkins

Equality Network

Bernard Street


Geoff Miller is wrong to suggest that the law offers unequal protection to the religious beliefs of Mr and Mrs Bull than to the gay couple to whom they refused accommodation.

It was not the holding of the Bulls’ beliefs which the court found against, but the act of refusing to accommodate a couple simply because they are gay. Their reason for refusing accommodation is immaterial.

Were someone to be refused accommodation simply because of their religious beliefs, they too would be given protection under the law, and rightly so.

Ian Baxter

Broomieknowe Gardens