Bed and Breakfast fights for right not to host civil unions

Christian Examiner staff report


SPRINGFIELD, Ill, — A bed and breakfast in central Illinois is struggling to keep its right not to host civil union ceremonies on its premises.

Mark and Todd Wathen filed a complaint against the bed and breakfast with the state’s Human Rights Commission when TimberCreek turned down hosting their civil union ceremony.

“No business owner may be forced to violate his sincerely held religious beliefs merely because someone demands it,” said Steve Amjad, an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund.

“Constitutional and state laws guarantee religious freedom for every American, including business owners,” said Amjad. “These complaints ignore those fundamental freedoms and are further examples of the threat the homosexual legal agenda poses to every American’s basic rights.”

The answers filed with the commission in response to the complaints filed by Mark and Todd Wathen assert that “TimberCreek did not engage in sexual-orientation discrimination under the Illinois Human Rights Act” and that applying specific portions of the act to this situation would actually violate the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, federal law, and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“TimberCreek does not host civil union ceremonies for same-sex or opposite-sex couples, so the discrimination charge is baseless,” said ADF Senior Counsel Bryan Beauman. “TimberCreek has done nothing wrong, and their right to freely exercise their faith should not be threatened.”

TimberCreek’s website states that they are a Christian country Bed and Breakfast.


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Published, December 2011

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