Christian B&B Fined for Not Hosting LGBT Wedding Must Pay Fine After All
The fight still continues for TimberCreek Bed & Breakfast.
TimberCreek Bed & Breakfast in Paxton, Illinois was forced to pay a $80,000 in fines and attorney's fees for a 2011 incident of not allowing a same-sex couple to have their wedding ceremony in the venue.
The 3-member panel (2 of which were either openly gay or involved in LGBT activism) of the Illinois Human Rights Commission rejected the hearing of the appeal of Jim Walder, the owner.
The Supreme Court turned down an appeal and the decision was upheld. The Christian owner is seeking for a reconsideration of their appeal. However, many think it highly unlikely for any further appeal to be reconsidered.
Debate remains on the impartiality of rulings like this. On one side is the right of same-sex couples to marry. On the other is a person's right to exercise and live out his religious beliefs. Christian owner Jim Walder did not prevent them from getting married. He only pointed them somewhere else. The gay couple believe in same-sex marriages; they had other options ahead of them. Christian owner Jim Walder believes in a traditional marriage; he had only one option- to not allow his venue to be used for non-traditional marriages. Yes, he could have allowed them but He didn't feel comfortable doing it because he believed in the principle of traditional marriage.
Is it just to sacrifice one's values just to accommodate another person's differing values? Is it just to impose monetary penalties on someone because of his principles? Is it just to order someone to change business practices and to overlook personal values in the exercise of one's OWN business? Is it just to fine someone for living by his faith?
If there were no other place available for the gay couple to celebrate their wedding, I would understand the protest. But other options are available and the Christian owner was in no way trying to stop them from marrying. His conscience just couldn't be comfortable allowing his property to be a venue for an event that went against his faith beliefs. Did he insist his beliefs on them, did he try and stop them from practicing what they believed to be right? It seems not. Ironically, this whole suit thing shows them to be the ones insisting their beliefs on him. It shows them trying to stop him from practicing what he believes to be right. Who then is guilty of discriminating? Who is actually the victim of discrimination in this situation?