Is this really the victory that campaigners envisaged: two elderly people facing ruin and this week subjected to a barrage of abusive phone calls and obscene emails which are now in the hands of police? Even Peter’s hospital has been plagued with nuisance calls.
‘Peter was airlifted to hospital on New Year’s Eve when he became ill and I believe the stress of this case exacerbated his condition,’ says Hazelmary. ‘I would have been at his side during surgery, but news on Monday afternoon that the judgment was about to be delivered came out of the blue.
‘I spoke to Peter on the phone that day. We said a lot of personal things, because this was a big operation, and prayed together.
‘He felt very upset that he couldn’t be there with me. He sees himself as a protector and provider, and felt he was letting me down.
‘I said I wished I could have the operation for him and he said: “Actually, I think I’d rather be here [having triple heart bypass and valve replacement surgery].” That’s how stressful this has been for him.
‘Monday was frantic with my worrying about Peter and leaving everything to drive through the night to get to Bristol for the judgment. When I arrived at court, I would have been out of my mind if it had not been for my faith. I prayed for strength to help me deal with whatever challenges lay ahead.
. . . the Bulls are being targeted now. Often in a most unpleasant manner. While the 400 emails and phone calls of support from all over the world have acted like ‘an ointment on the wound’, Hazelmary says she has been shocked by the 50 or so abusive and obscene messages she has also received.
Some of them, she claims, are from people purporting to be gay couples trying to book a double room. Others, from anonymous strangers with an axe to grind.
‘On Tuesday night, no sooner had I returned to Chymorvah from the hospital than the phone was ringing,’ she says.
‘I didn’t even have time to take my coat off.
‘I’m not a prude, but I’ve been shocked and hurt by the language used. One told me I was an abomination and would go straight to hell.
‘I couldn’t even switch the phone off in case the hospital needed me. I had one man call, saying he and his gay partner wanted a room. I explained we were closed until Easter and got a load of bad language before he hung up. While he was ranting and raving, I just wanted to ring the hospital.
‘We’ve also had emails from people claiming to be gay couples, saying: “Of course, if you reject this booking, you will be acting illegally.”
‘That night, I hardly slept because Peter was so poorly. I had the phone beside me waiting to hear if they were taking Peter back to surgery, then the obscene phone calls started first thing in the morning.
‘These people know nothing about me or my lifestyle, and I’ve been astounded by their cruelty.’
. . . we didn’t move the goalposts, the Government did. We’ve been doing this since 1975, and legally doing it. Then all of a sudden they put us in a position where it is illegal.
‘People say that if I don’t like the law I should go into another business, but this is what I’m good at, this is what I trained for, this is what I have been doing all my working life. Why should I now be made to feel a criminal?
‘I am not against leglislation which protects all members of society from discrimination. No one – not least myself – would want to see a return to the days when homosexuals were oppressed, but I believe the pendulum has swung too far the other way.
‘Christians are definitely being marginalised. There is no question about it and we have to be careful that we don’t exchange one brand of oppression for another. The human rights charter says faith is protected not just in the home but in the workplace. Well, this is my workplace.’
So, no visitors to Chymorvah House today and possibly never again. Come Easter, the Bulls could be homeless and penniless.
I hope the gay lobby is proud of their crushing of the Bulls.