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Tribunal: Christian inn owners discriminated against gay couple

Friday, July 20, 2012

VANCOUVER, B.C. — A British Columbia Human Rights tribunal has ordered the owners of a now-closed Bed and Breakfast to pay $4,500 in damages and expenses to a same-sex couple for refusing them accommodations because they are gay.

Brian Thomas and Shaun Eadie

Les and Susan Molnar, who owned the now-closed River-bed Bed and Breakfast in Grand Forks, B.C., argued that they were exercising their rights to religious freedom under the Canadian Charter, claimed that sex outside of marriage is morally wrong, and that it is their belief that marriage is solely between between a man and a woman.

In their testimony, the couple stated that these arguments were justification for denying accommodations to Brian Thomas and Shaun Eadie, and to avoid permitting homosexual relations in their home.

But the tribunal disagreed with the constitutional argument, and noted that the inn was not run by a church, and that the Molnar’s subject the couple “to indignity and humiliation by turning them away in 2009, based on their sexual orientation.”

“Having entered into the commercial sphere, the Molnars, like other business people, were required to comply with the laws of the province … that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” wrote tribunal member Enid Marion, in the decision.

Thomas told the CBC that the ruling was a “resounding and dramatic decision,” and said he hopes it “sets a precedent for people to feel empowered to fight discrimination face on.”

“If there is any lesson learned from this, we really hope that is if you are wronged, if you have your principles violated, that you have a moral obligation to stand up to that because it’s bigger than just what’s happened to that individual,” Thomas said. “If it’s not questioned or not challenged, it makes it right; it makes it okay. It’s not okay.”

The Molnars closed their inn after Thomas and Eadie filed the complaint against them, and the couple said they have no plans to reopen.

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Filed under: North America

11 more reader comments:

  1. y una traduccion para una prácticamente analfabeta del ingli…? Gracias!!!

    Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 8:16pm
  2. What? Good Lord?

    Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 8:16pm
  3. God, I love Canada. This is exactly the correct ruling. Once you enter into the commercial sphere, you have to comply with the civil laws. USA, take notice!

    Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 8:21pm
  4. That may not be the case for too much longer though. Our PM has documented ties to at least two Neo-Nazi groups.

    Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 8:28pm
  5. I worry about the world sometimes… how can these people, who claim to be Christian (Jesus was supposed to be loving and accepting, right?) be so hateful? Our parents used to tell us bullying stopped after high school; but we see it every day in the real world, as well. I hope that the world will learn tolerance, at least, even if they never reach acceptance.

    Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 8:28pm
  6. homophobes hiding behind ‘their beliefs’, you want to be a hater, close your business, stay at home with your doors locked, and rot!

    Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 8:35pm
  7. HA! The inn-keepers are losers :P

    Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 8:38pm
  8. Most religions are not about genuine love for gays, blacks, slaves, interracial relationships, etc. Its more about power, politics, brainwashing, control, manipulation, and satisfying the insecure, hetero men of power.

    Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 9:02pm
  9. Yep–so lets make sure we don’t end up with a Mormon president!

    Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 9:11pm
  10. they should have had to pay waaaay more than that….

    Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 11:30pm
  11. doesn’t sound so christian

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 5:40am