A Vermont couple who agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of a lesbian couple from New York who claimed that their Inn refused to host their wedding reception because they were a same-sex couple, appear in a new ad advocating against same-sex marriage in neighboring Maine.
Jim and Mary O’Reilly, owners of the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vt., were charged with violating the Vermont Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act, which 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 couple, who say they are devout Catholics, could not “offer our services wholeheartedly to celebrate the marriage between same-sex couples because it goes against everything that we as Catholics believe in.”
They are now using the lawsuit and settlement as a warning to Maine voters to discourage them from support a marriage equality initiative on the November ballot:
The couple said in the video that because of the lawsuit, they “can no longer host any weddings” at their Inn, when in fact, the Vermont statute only prohibits them from discriminating against gay couples. It was their decision to discontinue wedding services to avoid hosting gay and lesbian couples.