The Canadian bed-and-breakfast owners who denied service to a gay male couple because of their personal religious beliefs must pay a fine of more than $4,500, the human rights tribunal of British Columbia ruled last week.
According to the Vancouver Sun, the tribunal did not accept the argument from Les and Susan Molnar, a retired couple from Grand Forks, that they had barred Shaun Eadie and Brian Thomas only from their private home in July 2009. Tribunal member Enid Marion held that the bed-and-breakfast area was separate, which made it subject to the discrimination rules that govern commercial spaces. The Riverbed and Breakfast closed shortly after the incident.
Three years ago Eadie called the B&B to reserve a single room. The Molars suspected that the reservation was for a gay couple, so they called back to cancel the reservation. Eadie and Thomas filed a complaint.
Les and Susan Molnar, devout Christians, testified that they have suffered harassment because of the publicity surrounding the episode. According the Sun, “the Molnars were ordered to pay each of the complainants $1,500 for damages, $340 for travel expenses, and more than $400 for lost wages to attend the hearing in Kelowna.”
Thomas told CBC News that he and Eadie were pleased with the outcome.
"Sometimes you have to stick your neck out, and we stuck our necks out and we feel good and vindicated that we did for the benefit of people coming behind us," he said.