B&B ordered to pay damages to same-sex couple, stop discriminating


SPRINGFIELD — A bed-and-breakfast near Paxton that turned down a same-sex couple’s request to hold a civil-union ceremony there in 2011 has been ordered by an administrative law judge to pay $30,000 in damages to the couple and $50,000 to their attorneys and to stop violating the Illinois Human Rights Act by denying couples access to the facility based on their sexual orientation.

In his written decision last week, Robinson ordered the B&B to pay $15,000 each to Todd and Mark Wathen as compensation for their emotional distress arising out of the issue; directed the B&B to cease and desist from violating the Human Rights Act by denying same-sex couples access to its facilities and services for marriages and civil unions; ordered the B&B to offer the Wathens access to the facility, within one year, for an event celebrating their civil union; and ordered the B&B to pay the Wathens’ attorneys $50,000 in fees and $1,218 in costs.

Walder said in an emailed statement Tuesday that his B&B will not host civil-union ceremonies or same-sex weddings, regardless of last week’s ruling.



Once again, religious liberty takes a hit. It will not end.


I hope the joint stays strong against leftist tyranny.


“Nor is it about tolerance or diversity. Hardly. Like most things associated with the Left, it is the opposite. It is about demanding conformity and obedience under threat of retribution.”



This is the nature of the political left. They will not leave anyone alone. They recognize no human rights. You WILL bend to their will, or be punished.


There should be a religious exemption in cases such as this. The couple might have tried to understand the religious objection of the B & B owners and gone elsewhere for their ceremony. Does the fact this was to be a civil-union ceremony rather than a marriage play any role in the decision of the court to impose such harsh penalties?


They purposefully seek out those with objections to make a quick buck. I wonder how many other places these people went to before they found someone who denied them?


The accommodation is that they open a private club. As it stands, they are a business serving the general public and so regulated by public accommodation law. I question whether this case would have existed at all had the B&B owner not sent a separate email harassing the couple about their sexual orientation.


There is another way, and that is for public accommodation laws to be revised and to have a reasonable accommodation. They’ve simply gone too far, and they are impinging in religious freedom, as a result, people of faith are now being discriminated against because of such public accommodation laws.


No. You have a reasonable accommodation like everyone else. If you want to discriminate then open a private club and don’t harass people through email. What you are asking for is to operate under different laws than everyone else and that is not reasonable.


People shouldn’t have to either change their business or forgo their conscience.

Public accommodation laws can surely can be revised even with the Obergefell ruling as it is in place. If public employees can be accommodated like clerks in three states, so there is an opt out or way out for them so they don’t have to put their signature on a same-sex marriage license, then surely public accommodation laws can be revised so businesses can opt-out of hosting same-sex wedding or civil union ceremonies, without lawsuits and fines.


Yes they should. Religious beliefs do not entitle anyone to operate above or outside of the law nor do they entitle anyone to live under different laws than everyone else.


Is this supposed email mentioned in the suit?


“The Wathens had contacted TimberCreek in 2011 as they looked for possible locations for the ceremony.
TimberCreek owner Jim Walder had responded to the Wathens’ inquiry with an email that said “homosexuality is immoral and unnatural,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.”

"After researching possible locations, Todd Wathen contacted the TimberCreek B&B — which advertised itself as a venue for weddings and other events — and asked if the facility would be holding civil-union ceremonies starting in June. Walder denied his request, and a few days later he sent an unsolicited email lecturing the Wathens **about their “gay lifestyle,” adding that “it’s not too late to change your behavior.” **



I have some sympathy with the B&B owner, but in this case (as I read it) just as much with the couple who were turned away. The email appears to have been the catalyst and it was very inappropriate. A B&B owner shouldn’t be admonishing strangers on their lifestyle choices.


So the Fine for lecturing others on their lifestyle choices is $80,000?


You do have a good point. What might be the cost, with respect to finances and clientele, of creating a private club to replace a public accommodation?


Supposedly the harassing email caused great emotional distress to the couple. Still, it seems an excessive penalty for a small business owner.

The public accommodation law should probably be changed to allow for religious exemptions. Hopefully, such change does not result in a slippery-slope situation of unwarranted discrimination.


They broke the law. If the mass feels the law is unjust, then petition to have it changed.

Our constitution clearly defines religious freedom which also includes freedom from religion. Can’t have one without the other.

Simply exchange a few words and that statement can easily support the political right. Oh wait I forgot, the political right’s nature is the one and true nature of this country. My bad :rolleyes:


Although I feel the B&B broke the law, the fine seems excessive.

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