NOM BLOG

Two Illinois Inns Sued For Refusing to Host Same-Sex Civil Union Ceremony

 

From the Windy City Times (a gay newspaper):

A gay couple has filed complaints with the Illinois Human Rights Commission against two downstate bed-and-breakfast inns that allegedly refused to host their civil-union ceremony.
Todd and Mark Wathen of Mattoon, Ill., allege that both the Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast and Beall Mansion Bed and Breakfast discriminated against them by refusing to host their legally recognized ceremony.

The Wathen's attorneys—Betty Tsamis of Chicago, and John Knight and Harvey Grossman of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois—announced the filing Nov. 2 in a news release.

... The complaint alleges that Jim Belote, Beall Mansion owner, told Todd Wathen in an email that his inn was only performing "traditional weddings."

"At this time, we don't do civil unions ( same sex or opposite sex ) ," Belote wrote in an email, which is attached to the complaint. "Nor do we do wedding rehearsal dinners ( same sex or opposite sex ) ."

The email goes on to say that both same-sex and opposite-sex couples are welcome to stay at the inn.

Belote was reached by phone but declined to comment on the pending litigation.

...Citing the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Wathens have asked for monetary awards and an end to the discriminatory practice.

"When a business is open to the public in Illinois, they cannot discriminate against a couple based on their sexual orientation—that is the law," said Tsamis in the news statement. "This case is important to ensure that the State's public accommodations law reflects fairness and equality and that the law is followed by all businesses."