The owners of the Riverbend B&B have been fined $4,500 by the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal for refusing to accept a reservation from a gay couple.
The tribunal didn’t buy the argument from owners Les and Susan Molnar, who are Mennonite, that they they didn’t rent a room to Vancouver couple Shaun Eadie and Brian Thomas because the inn was part of the Molnar’s home and they feel responsible for guests’ behavior.
But Thomas and Eadie argued that even though it was out of their home, the bed-and-breakfast was a public accommodation and therefore subject to provincial laws. The tribunal agreed, with member Enid Marion writing in her judgement: “While the business was operated by individuals with sincere religious beliefs respecting same-sex couples, and out of a portion of their personal residence, it was still a commercial activity.”
Thomas told The Province he and Eadie were “very happy” with the ruling. “It hopefully sets a precedent for people to feel empowered to fight discrimination face on.”
Sadly, the Riverbend has been shuttered since the men filed their complaint, and the Molnars say they have no plans to reopen. But honestly, did they really think they could run a bed-and-breakfast and turn away queer couples?
We’re, like, the backbone of the B&B industry.