Homosexual couple sue Christians for barring them from hotel bed
The Christian owners of a seaside hotel may be prosecuted after refusing to allow a gay couple to stay in a double room. Peter and Hazelmary Bull are facing an unprecedented court case under controversial new equality laws.
Martyn Hall, who lives with his civil partner Steven Preddy, has lodged a county court claim for up to 5,000 in damages alleging 'direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation'.
But the Bulls deny the charge, saying they have a long-standing policy of banning all unmarried couples, both heterosexual and gay, from sharing a bed at the Chymorvah Private Hotel in Marazion near Penzance in Cornwall. Mrs Bull, a 62-year-old great-grandmother, said that even her brother and his female partner had to stay in separate rooms when they visited the hotel.
The Bulls, who have the backing of the Christian Institute, have operated their 'married only' policy since they bought the hotel in 1986. The hotel website says: 'We have few rules but please note that out of a deep regard for marriage we prefer to let double accommodation to heterosexual married couples only.'
Last August, the Bulls received a letter from Stonewall, the gay rights organisation, saying it had received a complaint and warning the hotel it was breaking the law.
The following month Mr Preddy, from Bristol, rang to book a double room for two nights. Mrs Bull, who took the call, said last night that she had wrongly assumed that he would be staying with his wife before she accepted the booking. When Mr Preddy and Mr Hall arrived, they were told by the manager, Bernie Quinn, that the hotel could not honour the booking. The couple told him he was acting illegally before leaving and reporting the incident to police.
Mrs Bull insisted last night: 'I have had people clearly involved in affairs and under-age people who have tried to book in here for sex, and I have refused them the same as I refused these gentlemen because I won't be a party to anything which is an affront to my faith under my roof.'
The couple's solicitor, Tom Ellis, from the Manchester-based firm Aughton Ainsworth, said: 'Our argument is that the regulations impinge on the Bulls' human rights. 'Under the European Convention on Human Rights, people are able to hold a religious belief and manifest it in the way they act.'
A spokesman for Stonewall said: 'We look forward to the hotel changing its policy to reflect equality, the 21st Century and the law.'
Brussels ‘recreating Soviet bloc in Europe’
The outspoken Czech leader has warned of a ‘democratic deficit’
THE leader of the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating European Union presidency, has warned that a “Europe of states” is in danger of turning into a “state of Europe”, legislating on almost every aspect of people’s lives but lacking in democracy and transparency. In an interview with The Sunday Times, President Vaclav Klaus drew parallels between Brussels and the failed communist dictatorships of eastern Europe. “My criticism is based on the sensitivity towards attempts to restrain freedom and democracy, and it does relate to the fact that for most of my life I lived in a political, social and economic system which was not free and was not democratic,” he said.
Klaus also predicted that Gordon Brown’s attempts to produce a European solution to the global economic crisis in time for next month’s G20 summit in London could make the problems worse.
Klaus, 67, an economist by training and a successful finance minister after the fall of communism, said he believed Brown’s plans for more regulatory supervision of the financial system would resolve nothing. Instead, Europe should let business and markets go free. “The crisis cannot be solved by restraining human initiative and putting further burdens on businesses,” he said. “I propose the exact opposite: deregulation, liberalisation, removing barriers and unnecessary obstructive legislation at the European level.”
A longstanding Eurosceptic and admirer of Margaret Thatcher, Klaus remains scornful of attempts to impose the Lisbon treaty on an unwilling electorate. He said the treaty contained measures to give unelected officials in Brussels “even more power”. Irish voters who threw out the treaty in a referendum last year “knew what they were doing”, Klaus added, and he was not certain that the second vote which has been called will have a different outcome: “But the pressure will be enormous and not very democratic.”
He talked of a “democratic deficit” in the EU when he addressed the European parliament last month. In his interview, conducted by e-mail, he explained: “I see the democratic deficit in a growing distance between the citizens of the EU member states and the EU political elite, as well as in the shift of decision making from the member states’ capitals to Brussels.” About 75% of legislation was made in the EU by unelected officials, he said. The Lisbon treaty would give the EU its own legal personality and would abolish important rights of veto: “This certainly is not a solution to the democratic deficit. It makes the democratic deficit even greater.”
Klaus refused to say whether he would agree to sign the treaty, which has yet to be passed by the Czech Senate, if and when it arrives on his desk. “I don’t wish to foresee . . . what happens after that; let’s wait for the Senate’s decision,” he said. The Czech government’s presidency has smashed any hopes of a cosy EU consensus. Klaus was booed by many MEPs after his speech and a humorous sculpture installed in Brussels portrayed Bulgaria as a lavatory, Romania as a Dracula theme park and France as a country permanently on strike. They were not amused.
Klaus, who helped to lead his country from communism to freedom, warned that the new constitution would stifle debate and democracy. “Not so long ago, in our part of Europe we lived in a political system that permitted no alternatives and therefore also no parliamentary opposition,” he said. “It was through this experience that we learnt the bitter lesson that with no opposition and tolerance to differing points of view, there is no freedom.”
Klaus revels in speaking his mind on controversial subjects, always prepared to confront politically correct orthodoxies. He is a leading critic of the green movement and also of measures to fight global warming. Freedom and prosperity, he said, were much more endangered than the climate.
He firmly refuses to fly the blue and gold European flag over his official residence in Prague, pointing out that “the European Union is not a state and legally it does not have a flag”.
In a pointed reference to his country’s Soviet-dominated past, he said: “We have lived through the times when it was compulsory on some days to fly another state flag next to ours. I am very glad that these times are over.”
Boris ignores political correctness to fly England's flag and celebrate St George
Boris Johnson slew the dragon of political correctness yesterday by announcing London would mark St George's Day with a week of celebrations. The capital's mayor said he would proudly fly the red and white flag of England's patron saint from his City Hall office on April 23.
St George's Day has been a low-key event in London in recent years, dwarfed by a St Patrick's Day parade funded to the tune of £100,000, and enormous crowds at Gay Pride. The Mayor's endorsement of St George's Day appears to mark an official determination to make English patriotism more acceptable. In recent years, many local authorities have banned taxi drivers, builders and firemen from displaying the Cross of St George – often citing spurious health and safety reasons.
Mr Johnson said: 'St George's Day has been ignored in London for far too long, but I'm truly pleased to announce some fantastic events to mark this occasion. 'We have much to be proud of in this great country. England has given so much to the world, politically, socially and artistically.'
A music festival on Sunday April 25 in Trafalgar Square will feature artists 'finding innovative ways to express music that is inspired by English folk tradition'. And as April 23 is also Shakespeare's birthday, there will be an event commemorating the Bard's work at the Globe Theatre in London.
Many councils have shied away from endorsing St George and the English flag over a perception that they were the preserve of far-Right political parties and racists. St George's adoption by Crusaders against Islam in the Holy Land has been a further obstacle. But in recent years, English patriotism has become more acceptable, with the flag more likely to be associated with the national football team.
The news was welcomed by the Left-wing musician Billy Bragg yesterday. He said: 'I think it's great that the Mayor is grasping the nettle. Good luck to him. If you don't use the flag in a positive way then you leave it to be used by the far-Right and it will have negative connotations.'
Until the 18th century, St George's Day was a celebration on a par with Christmas. But it fell out of favour. Despite being the patron saint of England, St George is thought to have been a Roman soldier born in Turkey. The legend of George slaying the dragon is believed to have been brought back from the Middle East by Crusaders, growing in popularity until he was canonised in the 1400s.
Last year, Gordon Brown flew the flag of St George over Downing Street for the first time in recent years. But the day has not received much backing from government. Over the past five years, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport spent just 230 pounds promoting St George's Day.
Australian rights record under scrutiny in UN seat bid
What a lot of crap. Human rights are as good in Australia as in any country in the world. And as far as Aborigines are concerned, successive Australian governments poured welfare money down their throats for decades because anything else would have been called racist. The fact that welfare did more harm than good is no surprise but it was a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't
PRIME MINISTER Kevin Rudd's dream of winning a UN Security Council seat might be dashed by international concerns about Australia's record on human rights.
Australia's poor treatment of its indigenous population and refugees will come under scrutiny by an international human rights watchdog, amid continuing lobbying for a seat on the prestigious UN body that oversees military and peace-keeping operations.
The Human Rights Committee will today examine Australia's human rights record and issues, including the Northern Territory intervention and immigration detention.
Australian lawyers meeting in New York last week said a good report from the committee would improve the Prime Minister's bid to join the Security Council.
"It would assist substantially," said Human Rights Law Resource Centre director Philip Lynch. "Australia has put human rights front and centre of its Security Council bid."
High level officials from the Immigration, Indigenous Affairs and Attorney-General's departments will represent Australia during the two-day hearing.
Andrew Hudson, senior associate at non-government organisation Human Rights First, said the committee objectively examined countries and their compliance with treaties and standards.
"It will criticise Australia's human rights record to the extent that it falls short," he said.
Unlike the US and Britain, Australia does not have a bill of rights. Proponents sense the Security Council bid could propel the Rudd Government to enshrine human rights in law, as they are in Victoria and other states.
Teena Bagli, from the National Association of Community Legal Centres, said human rights had to be secured for a bid to succeed. "It's vital for the Government - who has said human rights is important and is a part of their Security Council bid - to walk the walk," she said.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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