"Religious freedom shouldn't be used as a cloak for prejudice"
In light of Labour's Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, the outcome of this case was perhaps entirely predictable.
Yet His Grace has a slight problem with one comment made by Ben Summerskill, the Director of Stonewall.
He said: "Religious freedom shouldn't be used as a cloak for prejudice."
His Grace is not persuaded that the belief and practice of Peter and Hazelmary Bull - not to permit any unmarried couples (homo or hetero) to sleep together under their own roof - was, in fact, an incidence of anti-gay prejudice.
Surely it is one of discrimination.
Which should not need to be made behind 'a cloak'.
Even the 'victims', Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy, use the word 'discrimination'.
And discrimination is not synonymous with prejudice.
If religious freedom no longer permits the believer to discriminate against the non-believer, what manner of freedom is it?
We are told that by their decision to run their home as a hotel, their private home became a commercial enterprise: 'This decision means that community standards, not private ones, must be upheld.'
If, as the Judge asserts, 'changing social attitudes' are responsible for the imposition of moral uniformity, then religious liberty is no more. This case does not concern the use of public money, as was the issue which enforced the closure of Roman Catholic adoption agencies: it is concerned with the state regulation of private commercial enterprise.
If 'community standards' must be upheld in all enterprises open to members of the public, the day is indeed coming when churches will be sued for refusing to 'marry' homosexual couples, for that is surely a manifestation of an outrageous 'prejudice'. And if there, how dare any church bar anyone from receiving bread and wine on account of their marital status, for that, too, is an outrageous 'prejudice' and a very public libel.
The Judge wisely gave Mr and Mrs Bull permission to appeal.
His Grace advises them to do so, if only to clarify in the minds of people like Ben Summerskill the distinction between 'prejudice' and 'discrimination'; not, His Grace avers, with any expectation of winning. But to have this matter established in case law at the highest possible level of jurisprudence. He simply wishes to know what manner of 'religious liberty' we now possess if we may not discriminate against those who do not share a particular worldview.
And whether, in practice, the diminution of that liberty applies solely to Christians.