Gay couple files complaint against Christian B&B owners for refusing civil union ceremony
PAXTON, Illinois, March 7, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A homosexual man has filed human rights complaints against two bed and breakfasts in Illinois after they refused to let out their premises for a civil union ceremony between the man and his sexual partner.
Illinois Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn signed a new law allowing marriage-like privileges for homosexual couples on January 31, and the law is set to take effect in June.
“We have received a complaint. We are investigating whether or not it is a violation,” said Robyn Ziegler, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, according to The Telegraph.
The owner of the first B&B, the Beall Mansion of Alton, Ill., had told the complainant, Todd Wathen of Mattoon, IL, that they only let out their premises for weddings. The Christian owners of the second, Jim and Beth Walder of TimberCreek Bed and Breakfast of Paxton, had a similar response.
In the course of e-mail correspondence with Jim Walder, Wathen argued: “starting June 1st, a civil union is a wedding, you have to get a licenses at the county clerks office, it is just not a marriage ... but a legal wedding ... so aren’t you discriminating against me and my partner, because of our sexual orientation??”
Walder, father of five, explained that he would not host such ceremonies “even if they become legal in Illinois.”
“We believe homosexuality is wrong and unnatural based on what the Bible says about it,” he said. “If that is discrimination, I guess we unfortunately discriminate.”
Wathen then threatened to contact the state attorney general’s office and the Department of Human Rights for discrimination against sexual orientation. “When you run a business ... a person needs to keep their opinions to there [sic] self,” he added.
Walder has sought legal counsel from the Alliance Defense Fund. He has declined to speak to media on the case, except to emphasize to LifeSiteNews.com that “TimberCreek Bed and Breakfast does not host any civil union ceremonies, regardless of whether the ceremony is for an opposite-sex or same-sex couple.”