Bed & breakfast uses God to discriminate against gays

Another day, another case where people are trying to use their religious beliefs as a legal shield for their bigotry:

The owners of a B.C. bed and breakfast will argue at a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing in Kelowna on Wednesday that their right to freedom of religion permitted them to turn away a homosexual couple.

According to the complaint filed with the tribunal, the gay couple, Shaun Eadie and Brian Thomas, booked a room in June 2009 at the Riverbend Bed and Breakfast in Grand Forks. Owner Susan Molnar received the call and immediately told her husband and co-owner, Les Molnar, that the man making the booking had asked for just one bed, the complaint said. Moments later, Les Molnar called Eadie back and asked if he and Thomas were a gay couple. Eadie said they were. The complaint said that Molnar then cancelled the booking.

Eadie and Thomas later filed their complaint with the tribunal.

In an application to have the complaint dismissed, Les Molnar said “to allow a gay couple to share a bed in my Christian home would violate my Christian beliefs and would cause me and my wife great distress.” He said that to have allowed the booking would be “encouraging something which I believe to be wrong according to my religious beliefs and my understanding of scripture.”

The Molnars also argued in their response that their charter rights to freedom of religion and association protected their decision not to do business with the gay couple.

Just to prove America and the Middle East don’t corner the market on anti-gay sentiment, this story is from my country of Canada. And while we’re lucky enough to have a Human Rights commission that will deal with this issue properly, it doesn’t mean our citizenry is very enlightened … if you want to lose faith in humanity, the comments sections of articles like this are always great for that.

Comments (29)

  • avatar

    LB

    The gay couple will definitely win this one. I think I might just celebrate early.

  • avatar

    Holly

    I can’t believe she rang them back to ask if they were gay!
    That’s deplorable.

    Anyway I bet her and her husband have done some pretty unChristian things in their bed…

  • avatar

    Jeffrey

    This shit happens all the time.

  • avatar

    Sofia

    That’s pathetic. Don’t call yourself a Christian and then spread HATE. If your God is so loving why would you think He/She/It hates homosexuals? Gah, you’re so stupid.

  • avatar

    Jordan

    I cringe in fear that someone will drop the L-word on me for saying this, but I truly believe that private businesses should retain the right to do, or not do, business with who they choose, regardless of how gross their reasons are. However, I also believe in the rights of people to spread the word about who they are denying business to and encouraging others not to frequent that particular B&B.

  • avatar

    Vince

    I hate to say this but I agree with Jordan.

    I have always maintained that an individual should be free to discriminate against anyone/race/sex/religion/hair color etc if you want to so far as you do not harm the individual or use your position of influence other to cause harm. For example I am not against a politician being Catholic until he starts to use his position to push the values of the Vatican instead of the values of the constituency that elected him/her.

    BTW what kind of person wants to let strangers into their home anyways?

  • avatar

    Pili

    They’re stupid if they hurt their own business by turning down a potential customer just because he/she’s gay; if they’re going to that B&B it’s because they have the money to pay for it. They have a business that depends on clients for revenue and it’s not too smart of a move to reject a customer for something that doesn’t have to do with wreaking havoc or breaking the law, for example.If those dumbasses are going to run a business based on their religious bigotry, they then should sell it before going bankrupt.

  • avatar

    Zwuh

    My parents ran a bed and breakfast for a while and a gay couple wanted to stay there. I wasn’t there for the actual conversation but I’m told my dad wasn’t very happy and my mum simply told him to suck it up.

    Thanks mum. :)

  • avatar

    J. N. Hudson

    As abhorrent I find these actions, I’m with Jordan, As a private business that should have the right to refuse service to anyone they choose to. For me personally, It would be hypocritical to say otherwise. When I lived in Kentucky I was the manager of a Best Western (Hotel) and I regularly refused to rent rooms to people I knew to be Neo-Nazis/Klansmen and knew, or even suspected to be Crystal Meth cookers.

  • avatar

    Mctaffity

    We’ve been here before with an almost identical case in the UK a few months back.

    However, I’m astonished to see three comments here supporting the B & B owners. Turning away this couple just because they are gay is not only wrong, it’s illegal (well, I presume the law is similar in Canada as it is in the UK). If you want the right to exercise your petty prejudices – don’t go into business.

  • avatar

    OttawaAnon

    Would you let OJ Simpson stay the night at your B&B. Would you serve Rick Warren a coffee/donut if he came into your Tim. Would you sell to the Pope if you owned child’s clothing store?

    I would not, and I would fight against any government law that tried to force my private business to do so.

  • avatar

    Charlie

    I just wish these people would stop saying they refused service because homosexuality is a sin. If they didn’t let sinners stay at their B&B, they wouldn’t have any customers at all. I seriously doubt they would deny somebody who had lied, or was an adulterer or an unmarried heterosexual couple.

    They are denying homosexuals because they think it’s icky.

  • avatar

    Michael Keenan

    We may not know all the details. In general, no one, private business or not, should have the right to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, or sexual pref. BUT, if this is a B&B in a private home, as some are, maybe they deserve some kind of exemption under certain circumstances. There are some privacy concerns. It is not a Motel 6. If the owners’ BR is below the guests BR, maybe they don’t want to hear gay sex, or even newly wed sex for that matter. I can’t say how to word that exemption. OTOH, if there is an absolute ban against such selection of guests, yes, they shouldn’t be in the business unless they accept all comers.

  • avatar

    keeyop

    Ideally, the law wouldn’t have to step in… It’s likely that the situation will steel the B&B folks’ bigoted resolve. They’ll hate gays even more for bringing legal action, and resent the government for intruding on their freedom to be discriminatory. :( So, there’s a valid case to be made for letting the private sector sort this out; Whether it’s by boycott, public shaming, outreach, etc. The flip side is: government setting rules of acceptable social behavior and tolerance.

    It would be great if there was an “outreach ninja task force”; A queer couple stays with the bigots, and they get to know and like each other as ‘normals’… At some point, (maybe on the way out the door), they reveal their homo-ness, say they really enjoyed their stay, and wish the owners well. Instant open minds? Probably not, but hate generally stems from ignorance. At the least, the ninjas could do recon and determine whether larger boycott/protest measures were appropriate.

    I hope i haven’t offended any actual ninjas who might read this. I use the term loosely, and have great respect for your skills. L8R

  • avatar

    Mctaffity

    @OttawaAnon

    “Would you let OJ Simpson stay the night at your B&B. Would you serve Rick Warren a coffee/donut if he came into your Tim. Would you sell to the Pope if you owned child’s clothing store?”

    Certainly, but if they actually caused a disturbance(!) I’d kick them out.

    “I would not, and I would fight against any government law that tried to force my private business to do so”

    Who are you to judge which prejudices are OK and which are not?

  • avatar

    Spector567

    @OttawaAnon you are making an extremly silly comparision that does not apply at all. It boarders on a straw man argument. If you want to deny services on a case to case basis. That is personal preference and a business decision. If you want to deny service to a group of people that is discrimination. It’s no different than holding up a sign and saying no blacks allowed.

    If the B&B had just said that they were full and did not have room it would be fine. However, they called and told the couple to get lost.

    The better choice would have been to ignore it since there are lots of reasons only to get one bed. Like saving money.

    It comes down to this. Would you tolerate a business that said no-blacks allowed? Or that the owner refused to serve you because you didn’t stand 3 steps behind your husband? so why would you tolerate this?

  • avatar

    cory

    fuck, in british columbia even. shitty deal.

  • avatar

    OttawaAnon

    @Mctaffity I am master of my own morals. I find the idea of faceless bodies with near total immunity telling me I have to provided non essential services to people I find repugnant to be vastly more harmful then allowing some bigoted B&B owners to stay bigoted.

    @Spector567 I would not do business with a white only business just like I would not rent a room with this B&B. Taking my business (and anyone who reads sites like these) elsewhere is in my mind a much more appropriate response then calling the HRC.

  • avatar

    Mctaffity

    @OttawaAnon

    You are just as bigoted as the B&B owners. Thankfully, most mature democracies have laws such as these because the majority of their populations believe them to be a step in the right direction, and most importantly, they are for the protection of EVERYONE. Welcome to the 21st Century.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    I think it’s important that we not confuse the rights of merchants to engage in whatever trade they want, and the more broader societal problem of people acting on xenophobic, bigoted and racist ideologies. You may feel that a business is being “forced” to serve people regardless of their creed, but we have other rules for business that are there to serve the greater good of society rather than commercial interests (I’m talking here about safety standards in cars, for example, or food safety standards for restaurants). We create these rules with the understanding that the broader ideological aspects are not infringed upon greatly, and in return, we have a more just society where people of all creeds have access to the services that are provided by private enterprise.

  • avatar

    OttawaAnon

    Making cars without seatbelts or toys covered in lead can lead to real harm; having to spend another hour or two looking for reservations from the comfort of your home while filling out an online complaint to the BBB not such a big deal.

    If the couple showed up at the B&B and were turned away at the door… sure call the BBB and make a complaint, sue for the expense of the five star hotel you were forced to stay at instead. I could get behind the couple in that situation as there would be real consequences. I do not consider hurt feelings real consequences in the grown up world.

  • avatar

    Gauldar

    The B&D owners broke a contract with a couple due to prejudice, wasting the time of the couple. If they want to run their business this way, they should have been upfront about it in the first place if that “scripture” means so much to them, so their cuntry yokel ways don’t get in the way of anyone’s vacation plans.

  • avatar

    Spector567

    @OttawaAnon You sound like a person who has never tried to stand in somone elses shoes.

    Ever complained to the manager because you were treated poorly? Were you pissed off for more than 2 minuet? I’m pretty sure filing a complaint with the HRC was pretty warrented.

    We live in a society where certain social moors are required. One of them is not to discriminate. This is not the 1900′s it’s not acceptable as a society to place white only signs and pretend that it doesn’t affect society. Bigoted behaviour affects everyone.

  • avatar

    BJT

    The simple solution to this problem would have been for the owners of the B&B to be clear and upfront about their beliefs by calling their business and advertising it as such, a Christian B & B.

    By not designating their business as such I question how deep their principles really are. Would they ask for a marriage license from each couple staying? Do they ensure that they are in fact a couple and not a couple of people cheating on their real spouses? do they ensure that the female is not having her period, because in Leviticus it says to have sex with a woman (even your wife) if she is having her period is a sin. Death by stoning is the required punishment for both.

    I do not begrudge anyone from not liking others. But if you open a business to the general public, it and you are governed by certain laws.

    If they had called their business what it truly was, a Christian B & B, then I doubt many gay men or women would darken their doorstep.

    It seems both sides are standing up for principles they believe in. The gay couple is for the belief of non discrimination against others in society as written in law and the B&B owners are standing up for the right to openly hate and discriminate.

  • avatar

    Donna

    What I want to know is, if the receive a booking from a man and a woman for a single room with one bed, do they ring them back and ask them if they’re married? Surely if they feel they can police the private lives of their gay customers based on scripture, they’d want to do the same for the straight couples who might be engaging in fornication or adultery in their Christian home too! How distressing! *eyeroll*

    Discrimination is discrimination. There are some Christians that interpret the Bible as saying that different races can’t marry. Are B&B owners allowed to turn away a white man and his black wife (or vice-versa) from their establishment because it’s their belief that races shouldn’t mix?

  • avatar

    video editing jobs

    Ha!Hey!Hah!. That’s interesting. That’s the second time I’ve foundsomething like that. though.

  • avatar

    Lee(f)

    I also agree that small business owners should conduct their business as they see fit.

    Although I have to say that someone who owns a B&B and does NOT want to allow a wide variety of people is just odd. B&B owners usually love to meet people and are typically open-minded.

    Just watch me open up a business that caters to the LGBT community only. Watch the flood gates open.

    “Why won’t you allow us in?” It’s against my religion, you’re too… ugly. Yeah, now go away.

  • avatar

    Micah

    Uh. Wow. So I disagree. I feel we’ve been given our OWN life to govern our OWN life. If we were meant to make decisions for OTHER people (who are not breaking any laws), they’d be chained to us – or birthed from us. Leave them be. I own a business and I wouldn’t turn away a gay couple, Islamic couple, Mexican couple, unmarried couples, or even a redneck couple =/. Be yourself and let them be. Their book says “judge not,” yet it seems to be the only class they excel in.

  • avatar

    Sue Molnar

    To think that a person so bigoted (and ill-advised) has the same name as mine!

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