Friday, March 11, 2011
A gay couple who won £3,600 in compensation after being barred from a hotel say they won’t fight for more money.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission, acting for Steve Preddy and Martyn Hall, “mistakenly” filed an appeal for more damages but withdrew it this morning.
Mr Hall and Mr Preddy successfully sued the Christian owners of the Chymorvah Private Hotel for sexual orientation discrimination after they were denied a double room.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull argued that their beliefs meant they could not allow a male couple to sleep in the same room but a judge said their faith could not overrule equality laws.
The Bristol Evening Post reported today that the gay couple believed the hoteliers had got off too lightly and would be using public money to claim for more damages.
The Christian Institute accused them of being “mean-spirited” and “chasing an elderly Christian couple for yet more money”.
But John Wadham, legal director at the EHRC, said the appeal had been filed accidentally.
He said: “This morning we withdrew our cross appeal in this case. It was filed initially because of an error of judgment on the part of our legal team.
“They submitted the cross appeal in an attempt to clarify the law around how damages are calculated in cases such as this.
“This resulted in it appearing that Steve Preddy and Martyn Hall were seeking to increase the amount of damages they receive because Mr and Mrs Bull’s Christian beliefs had led them to break the law. This was not our intention and it was certainly not the intention of Steve and Martyn.
“I would like to confirm that public money will not be spent funding a claim for increased damages in this case.”
Mr Preddy and Mr Hall commented: “We brought this case to clarify the law, not to make money. We have always believed that the original award was a fair one, and are not seeking any further compensation.”