An Illinois same-sex couple trying to find a venue for their civil union ceremony were rebuffed by two bed-and-breakfasts, with one telling them they are "wrong" and "unnatural."
Todd Wathen of downstate Illinois sent out inquiries to Beall Mansion and the TimberCreek B&B regarding his upcoming civil union reception. While Beall Mansion's managers told Wathen they allow only traditional weddings at their property, the TimberCreek B&B went much further.
"We will never host same-sex civil unions. We will never host same-sex weddings even if they become legal in Illinois," TimberCreek operators told Wathen in an e-mail. "We believe homosexuality is wrong and unnatural based on what the Bible says about it. If that is discrimination, I guess we unfortunately discriminate."
When informed of Illinois's new civil unions law, Jim Walder of TimberCreek replied, "The Bible does not state opinions, but facts. It contains the highest laws pertinent to man. It trumps Illinois law, United States law, and global law should there ever be any."
Walder later sent an unsolicited e-mail of Bible passages to Wathen. He wrote, "Hi Todd, I know you may not want to hear this, but I thought I would send along a couple of verses in Romans 1 detailing how the Creator of the Universe looks at the gay lifestyle. It's not to late to change your behavior."
Wathen and his partner filed complaints against both bed-and-breakfasts with the Illinois attorney general's office and the state Department of Human Rights. The couple alleges violations of the Illinois Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by businesses open to the public.