PAXTON, IL, September 23, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Illinois Department of Human Rights has given a homosexual couple the green light to sue two bed and breakfasts after the establishments refused to let out their premises for their civil union ceremony. The homosexual couple plans to launch the suits so shortly.
The news was greeted with incredulity by Illinois attorney and member of the Alliance Defense Fund Jason Craddock, who is representing Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast in Paxton.
“I believe strongly that liberty of conscience, particularly religious liberty of conscience, is what our nation was built on and is something that goes deep to our souls,” he said. “Now we’re getting into a situation where government is telling people of faith, ‘You can’t live out your faith if it happens to disagree with this particular group.’”
An Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) investigation found “substantial evidence” that a civil rights violation had been committed by the two bed and breakfasts. The IDHR investigation was launched after homosexual Todd Wathen of Mattoon filed human rights complaints against the two bed and breakfasts.
Wathen and his sexual partner wound up holding the ceremony in their backyard shortly after an Illinois civil unions law took effect in June.
The IDHR finding allows Wathen 90 days to file a complaint with the state Human Rights Commission or take civil action in Circuit Court. Wathen’s attorney, Betty Tsamis of Chicago, has said that her client has chosen the latter path and will file lawsuits against both businesses.
The owners of the first bed and breakfast, the Beall Mansion of Alton, had told the complainant that they only let out their premises for weddings.
The Christian owners of the second, Jim and Beth Walder of Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast, had a similar response.
In the course of e-mail correspondence with Jim Walder, Wathen had 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.”