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ACLU, lesbian couple sue Vermont inn over its ‘no gay reception policy’

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Vermont inn violated the state’s anti-discrimination law when it refused to host a wedding reception for a lesbian couple from New York City, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Wildflower Inn

The suit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Vermont chapter on behalf of Kate Baker and Ming Linsley, said the couple was turned away last fall because of the inn’s owner has a “no-gay-reception policy.”

According to the complaint, Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vermont refused to host a wedding reception for New York couple Kate Baker and Ming Linsley because of the owners’ personal bias against same-sex couples.

It was Linsley’s mother who was told the inn does not host “gay receptions,” particularly stinging to a mom trying to help her daughter plan the special day, the couple said.

According to the suit, at least two other couples have been turned away by the resort in the past 12 months.

According to the ACLU, the Vermont Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act prohibits public accommodations from denying goods and services based on customers’ sexual orientation. The law applies to inns, restaurants, schools, stores, and any other business that serves the general public.

The act contains exceptions for religious organizations and small inns with five or fewer rooms, bu the ACLU asserts the Wildflower Inn fits neither category. The inn is a multimillion-dollar public business whose slogan is “Four Seasons for Everyone!”

The inn’s owners, Jim and Mary O’Reilly, issued a statement saying they are devout Catholics who believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman.

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Filed under: Vermont

21 more reader comments:

  1. Well let Jim and Mary get the money to pay for lawyers and the payoff from the church since they are such devout catholics. Guess they wont be a multi million dollar business anymore!!

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 6:27pm
  2. they are welcome to come here anytime :)

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 6:28pm
  3. Stupid a$$ inn.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 6:28pm
  4. Here’s hoping that the plaintiffs OWN this Inn come next year – and drive this ‘devout Catholic family’ into bankruptcy!!

    Go get ‘em girls!!!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 6:35pm
  5. I guess the owner hasn’t figured out it’s 2011

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 6:36pm
  6. I’m glad taht this couple is standing up for their rights. I’m tired of seeing my friends hurt because of their sexuality, and I’m tired of being hurt because I’m friends with them. Grow up people, and worry about the bigger problems in life and stop hating other people because they’re happy.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 6:37pm
  7. All of the lgbt shld get together n book rooms at this inn and teach the owners a much needed lesson in respect

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 6:47pm
  8. thats just ridiculous

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 6:51pm
  9. I wont put that inn on the christmas list.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 6:58pm
  10. For crying out loud! Maybe the Catholic church will pay their legal bills for them?

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 7:09pm
  11. Well my partner & I are looking at places in Vermont (we are from Florida) & we will not be using the Wildflower.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 7:37pm
  12. May I recommended Black Bear Inn. They have all inclusive packages and are very same sex oriented. That is where me and my partner were going to go until they passed the law in New York now we are doing it here. But Jill Drinkwater (owner) was very helpful. Congrats and good luck..

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 7:42pm
  13. What the heck are straight people so afraid of? If you’re straight, your’re straight! You won’t catch gay so relax already!

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 7:52pm
  14. they wont be in business for long

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 8:21pm
  15. Well too bad if its your opinion.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 8:39pm
  16. Lost reputation and business. Smart.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 9:01pm
  17. Wish there was a way to get our straight friends to boycott them.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 10:43pm
  18. I am an absolute supporter of gay marriage, and have been for years. But I have to say I disagree with this suit, and think it makes the lgbtg community look bad. Why not just have the wedding somewhere else? People on the fence about gay marriage will see stories like this and oppose the cause, because they don’t want their personal beliefs infringed upon. The only way it passed in NY was by promising religious protections. It will be even harder in other states with stuff like this happening. It’s one thing to get a law passed, but it will be another generation before bigots like this see their beliefs are wrong. You can’t shove something down peoples throats, it will backfire on our cause. Pick your battles people… This couple isn’t the enemy. Let’s take this fight to the next state where we can make gay marriage legal. There’s still over 40 states to choose from, so our work is cut out for us, but it will be harder if the ACUL doesn’t back off this one.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 2:42am
  19. Randall I agree. I am sure there are so many other places that are welcoming and it’s not worth making it feel like everyone has to accept gay marriage.

    Remember people, we are fighting for the right for our choices and so should they be allowed for theirs. In the next few years, people will realize that it mattered not.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 2:52pm
  20. I am on holiday in the South of France, I read the story online and was pretty angry. I called the Inn and was told (3 times) that I need to “see the bigger picture”. And that would be…?

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 6:45am
  21. What if it was a group wanting to have a “sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman” group meet at an inn owned by a guy couple.
    Would they have the right to refuse?

    Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 6:14am