Two men, who had been long-time companions, were thrilled when civil unions became legalized in Illinois. They immediately began planning their celebration but came to find, that although the state accepted their sexual orientation, two bed and breakfast facility owners had not.
The pair filed complaints stating the two owners had refused to rent them facility because they were gay. The couple alleged it violates the Illinois Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by businesses open to the public, explained a New York Family Lawyer.
One of the owners of the bed and breakfast said, “I only host traditional weddings and not civil unions.” He reiterated in a later email, “At this point we will just be doing traditional weddings.”
The other owner was a bit more combative with the couple and told them what they were doing was “wrong and against the bible.” The man picked out a few verses and read them to the couple.
The couple’s attorney plans to use the bed and breakfast’s websites that boast, “elegant accommodations for pleasure or business, weddings, corporate retreats, anniversary parties, fund-raising events, bridal and baby showers and celebrations” as evidence of their discrimination against the couple.
In an e-mail, the more emphatic bed and breakfast owner wrote, “We will never host same-sex civil unions. We will never host same-sex weddings even if they become legal in Illinois.”
It went on to say, “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 he was reminded of the new law the owner simply responded, “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.”
Several days later he allegedly sent one of the gay men an email with links to Bible passages that said, “ 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 too late to change your behavior.”
When questioned by reporters the gay recipient said, “If they’d just sent the e-mail back and said, ‘Hey, I’m uncomfortable with this,’ or ‘I wouldn’t be the best (place) for this, but I wish you luck’, we wouldn’t have minded but they have no right to talk to us like that.”
The man’s partner concluded, “We don’t want to go to the clerk’s office and get it done by a Justice of the Peace. We want a place to remember.”
Understanding your rights and being treated fairly are part of what makes this country great. Stephen Bilkis and Associates understand the laws that protect you and your family from discrimination. Whether you are filing for divorce, or need an order for protection, have a paternity issue, or custody battle, contact us for guidance. We will ensure that your rights are protected.