"I thought they were just bigots," wrote one journalist, "but Peter and Hazelmary Bull’s sincerity on the BBC made me realize 'bigot' was entirely the wrong word."
That was the conclusion of one hardened journalist who does not share the Bulls’ beliefs but thinks it is a shame they have been taken to court by “equality campaigners.”
Rebecca McQuillan, senior features writer at The Herald newspaper in Scotland, wrote, “A BBC report had just come on about Peter and Hazelmary Bull, the B&B-owning couple in Cornwall who turned a gay couple away.
“The Bulls had just lost their Supreme Court appeal against being found guilty of discrimination and the reporter was talking to them outside court.
“I got ready to roll my eyes. I braced myself for what I expected to be their thinly disguised homophobic views.
“How many cases must we have, I wondered, before people running hotels and guesthouses understand they can’t discriminate like this?
“So it came as a bit of a surprise to find myself, not sneering, but feeling rather sorry for this ageing couple who had found that their faith in the Bible put them drastically at odds with equality laws. ‘Bigot’ was entirely the wrong word.”
McQuillan says the Supreme Court was right to rule against Mr and Mrs Bull: “And yet I sat watching the Bulls and felt sympathy, not with their beliefs, but with their sense of bewilderment at finding themselves on the wrong side of the law.
“Here were not two head-banging zealots full of self-righteous anger about homosexuality, but a quietly spoken couple with a set of sincerely held religious beliefs and a straightforward interpretation of the Bible.”
She concludes, “A gay friend of mine commented to me that if he had been visiting this B&B with his partner he would have respected the couple’s views by asking for a twin room instead.
“Perhaps, but I certainly don’t blame [the gay couple] Preddy and Hall for going to court.
“It is just sad that when conflict breaks out between equality campaigners and religious believers, one side must always prevail and the other ends up feeling so crushed.”