The Christian owners of a bed and breakfast in Cornwall, who became infamous for refusing to let a gay couple stay at their guesthouse, are being forced to sell up.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull, whose Marazion business gained national attention in 2008 when the couple declined to allow civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy to stay in one of their double bedrooms, said that the controversy has forced them to put their £750,000 Chymorvah Hotel on the market.
Peter and Hazelmary Bull are being forced to sell up after a drop in custom
The hotel operated a strict policy of letting only married couples share a bed, a stance the owners said was due to religions reasons. However in the case of Hall and Preddy, the restriction violated the 2007 Equalities Act, for which the hoteliers were forced to pay £3,600 in damages.
As such, the Bulls said they have been left with no option but to sell up following a slump in custom, which left the couple unable to pay the mortgage on their nine-bedroom property, as well as a need to cover ongoing legal costs. At the time of the controversy, the couple argued that their policy of restricting double rooms to married couples was not targeted at sexual orientation but sexual practise, believing that sex outside marriage is a sin.
"We have had a better summer than we thought but nowhere near good enough to pay our way," Mrs Bull told the Western Daily Press. "Last winter was terrible. We were actually shivering and were hungry. In 2013, two people who worked all their lives at this have ended up cold and hungry. It's not right." She added: "This is like a death in the family. I never thought it would end like this. We are not facing the future with any real enthusiasm."
In October, the Bulls are due to have their case heard in the Supreme Court, after an initial appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
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The sale particulars for the Grade II-listed hotel, describe it as "sited on a wonderful plot of a little over an acre, descending gently at the rear towards the coast through lawned gardens". It adds: "There are stunning views to sea, taking in St Michael's Mount, the Penwith peninsula, Penzance, Newlyn and Mousehole.
"One of an exquisite pair, built circa 1850 for siblings, the house is organised over four levels and Chymorvah currently trades as a private hotel. There are seven en-suite guest bedrooms. At ground floor level, a generous reception hall, with splendid tiled floor, opens to a lounge, a dining room and the hotel kitchen.
"At lower ground floor level, a self-contained apartment provides generous owner's accommodation with two bedrooms, a sitting room, kitchen, bathroom, office and utility areas. There are 17 car parking spaces, several allocated to guest bedrooms, plus parking for owners and staff and two spaces that are currently let to local properties.
"The gardens are a feature, with an area to the side of the property used as a tea garden during the summer months. To the rearm there are extensive, lawned coastal gardens, a kitchen garden and chicken run, plus further garden areas and a delightful two-storey summerhouse that is attached to a similar structure owned by the neighbouring property."There is access to a secluded beach from the foot of the garden. A detached single-storey building provides further laundry, drying and workshop facilities and can be utilised for other purposes."