Last year when Todd and Mark Wathen asked both the Beall Mansion and Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast to host their wedding ceremony, the Beall Mansion said that they only host “traditional weddings” and the Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast responded, “We will never host same-sex civil unions. We will never host same-sex weddings even if they become legal in Illinois. We believe homosexuality is wrong and unnatural based on what the Bible says about it. If that is discrimination, I guess we unfortunately discriminate.” So instead the Wathens decided to hold their wedding in their own backyard and then sue the bed and breakfasts in civil court for violating their human rights.
The anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund representing Timber Creek depicts the Wathen’s case as “religious rights versus homosexual rights.” You see, the Wathens contacted both places before the state’s civil unions law came into effect, a law which also provides religious exceptions for groups that don’t recognize civil unions. But those exemptions exist mainly to protect churches from lawsuits, not to let individual businesses refuse service to homos.
So now it boils down to whether “the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act—which protects religious freedoms from government intrusion—can trump the state’s Human Rights Act, which includes the protection of people based on sexual orientation.”
While it’s important to let businesses know that they can’t legally discriminate against us, perhaps we should start a register of anti-LGBT businesses so that we can know which ones to avoid and which ones to give our hard-earned money. While not all businesses want to work with rainbows, most of them certainly love the color green.
Image via SteakPinball