Ann Widdecombe and a young gay Tory activist have spoken out in support of the Christian guesthouse owners penalised for their beliefs about marriage.
Guesthouse proprietors, Peter and Hazelmary Bull, restrict double rooms to married couples but were sued, successfully, by a gay couple.
Miss Widdecombe, a former MP, wrote in the Daily Express today: “There is a difference between discriminating against somebody because of what he is and refusing to promote or facilitate what he does.
“If the Bulls ran a grocery shop which refused to serve homosexuals then that would be discrimination but to refuse to facilitate their activity or that of an unmarried heterosexual couple by providing a double bed is not. It is the once lawful exercise of conscience against particular deeds.”
She went on to warn that unless this distinction was reinstated, Christians and other people of faith could find themselves barred from running certain kinds of business.
Miss Widdecombe’s concern over the case was echoed by Robert Leitch, an openly homosexual Tory activist. Writing on the widely-respected ConservativeHome blog, Mr Leitch said: “The reaction to this somewhat traditional yet harmless policy has been remarkable.
“Mr and Mrs Bull have been tagged as homophobes, taken to court, forced to justify their literal interpretation of the Bible, told by the Judge involved that their views are out of date and, finally, given a punishment which will place significant strain upon their business’ finances.
“In the end, the penalty for holding a diverse viewpoint has been extreme.” He added: “I am not a Christian. I do not hold any such stringent views about married or unmarried couples.
“Yet, as an openly gay man in a happy, long-term relationship, it infuriates me when equality groups tell me that cases such as the above should be celebrated as victories for the ‘homosexual community’.
“Sorry, but I refuse to be confined to any such sub-section of society.”
Well said, sir.