In the attached LINK there is a story about a lesbian couple who sued an Innkeeper couple in VT that refused to host their gay-wedding reception because of their deeply held religious beliefs.
As in CA, such a decision violates VT civil rights laws that maintain the rights of equal access to publicly offered accommodations. The Innkeepers were sued by the couple, and had to pay a total of $30K. They also agreed they would host no more wedding receptions at their Inn, because they would not support a “gay wedding reception” on religious grounds.
There’s a real clash coming between these state civil rights laws, and the Establishment Clause. Given the day’s political climate, it’s likely that results such as the above will be upheld.
While I abhor discrimination, I have a problem with the result, and the lack of acknowledgement of any religious exemption from compliance under this scenario. It’s not like this is the only Inn in VT? Was the couple truly excluded from a wedding reception? Were there no alternatives to this one small Inn?
What about Retreat centers run by Catholic lay-persons? Or Bible Baptist campgrounds? Would they fare any better?
P.S. One other observation; the Chicago Tribune’s headline states the Lesbian Couple “wins” a settlement. By definition a settlement is just that… a settlement without a winner or a loser. Although I have to say that the “settlement” looks a bit more like a “stickup.”