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Christian B&B discriminated against gay couple, BC tribunal rules


Christian B&B discriminated against gay couple, BC tribunal rules

For-profit personal business can't deny access to gays, tribunal says
The BC Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that a Christian couple violated a gay couple’s rights when they denied the two men accommodation at their Grand Forks bed and breakfast in 2009.

“There is a clear nexus between the Complainants’ sexual orientation and the denial of accommodation,” wrote tribunal member Enid Marion in her July 17 decision. “Their sexual orientation was a factor, if not the sole factor, in the cancellation of their reservation.”

Marion ordered Les and Susan Molnar to cease and desist their discriminatory conduct and to refrain from doing the same or similar in the future.

She also ordered the Molnars to pay Shaun Eadie and Brian Thomas $1,500 each as damages for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect, as well as $344 for expenses associated with attending the October 2011 hearings, $850 for lost wages and post-judgment interest until the awards are paid in full.

Eadie and Thomas had each requested $2,500 in damages, but Marion decided on the lower figure as they were able to find alternate accommodation, and she saw no evidence of ongoing trauma, anxiety or other mental or physical detriment as a result of the Molnars’ discriminatory conduct.

“The only comment I have at this time is that I was never disrespectful to Mr Eadie or Mr Thomas,” says Les Molnar, who told Xtra July 17 that he disagrees with the tribunal’s decision. “Somehow it came out in the decision that my comments on the phone were disrespectful. In a less-than-a-minute conversation with them I was very respectful.”

In June 2009, Shaun Eadie spoke with Riverbend Bed and Breakfast co-owner Susan Molnar to book a room for himself and his partner, Brian Thomas.  Five minutes later, Eadie told the tribunal, Molnar’s husband, Les, called him back to ask if he and Thomas were a gay couple.

When Eadie said yes, Molnar allegedly replied, “This is not going to work out,” and Eadie said, “Wow” and hung up. Molnar told the tribunal he said, “I’m sorry,” and described Eadie’s “wow” as angry. “I said to my wife, ‘Maybe I should phone them back, invite them for breakfast and talk about this.’ She said that he sounded angry and ‘I don’t think we should aggravate him anymore.’”

Eadie and Thomas filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal the same day, which was heard over two days in Kelowna last fall.

“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 says. “If it’s not questioned or not challenged, it makes it right; it makes it okay. It’s not okay.”

Eadie is pleased with the outcome and hopes the three-year process is finally at an end.

“I feel very fantastic,” he says. “All my friends and family are very supportive. That’s kind of what helped me get through everything was having their support. There’s five of us in my family who are gay, and they are all ecstatic that I accomplished it and that I stood up for our rights as a gay community — that somebody actually did it.”

During the hearing, the Molnars’ lawyer, Ron Smith, argued that the religious convictions of his clients, who describe themselves as evangelical Christians, justified their actions.

"Our position is clear," Smith told the tribunal. "Given the unique purpose of this home and its dedication for Christian worship, the Molnars could not allow activities in their home that would offend what they believe is their god and their church." He pointed out that Les and Susan Molnar's home was not only a place of business but also where they lived, ministered and held religious fellowship meetings and that the property had been blessed by clergy on two occasions.

Smith drew comparisons between this case and the 2005 Knights of Columbus case in which the BC Human Rights Tribunal upheld the Knights of Columbus' religious freedom when it ruled they didn't have to rent their hall for a lesbian wedding, which would go against their core beliefs.

Marion, however, found that the function of the Molnars’ bed and breakfast, which they have since closed, was to offer temporary accommodation without any express restriction, to the general public.

“In this regard, I note that the Riverbend was operated as a for-profit business, and that the Molnars managed it as individual citizens,” Marion ruled. “Unlike the Knights case, the Molnars did not operate the Riverbend on behalf of the Church, and the Church had no direct involvement in its operations.”

Marion emphasized that the Molnars voluntarily chose to turn their home into a bed and breakfast out of their own free will for a number of reasons, including to “supplement their retirement income and to take vacations in a sunnier environment.

“Unlike the decision in Knights, I am not persuaded that the standard of restricting accommodation in single bed rooms to married heterosexual couples was adopted for a purpose or goal that was rationally connected to the Riverbend’s function, which was to offer temporary accommodation to the general public,” Marion ruled. “The standard was rationally connected to the Molnar’s personal religious beliefs, but not to the function or purpose of the Riverbend.”

“My wife and I respect the decision of the Human Rights Tribunal," Les Molnar called Xtra back to add on July 18, "and we didn’t mean any ill will towards Mr Thomas or Mr Eadie, before or after, and don’t hold any hard feelings for them."

"At this stage we don’t plan to appeal," Molnar says. "We consider this matter a learning experience and consider it closed as far as we’re concerned.”
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solution for new civil rights movement
If Canadian gays want to compare their struggles with black people's civil rights, then maybe Canada should find 1 million HIV spreading gays to lock up and throw away the key. it'd be just like our southern neighbour: blacks who have been jailed because of their skin colour the same way gays have been jailed because they're gay
Hey Cynthia
Strange but I witnessed Michael Jackson changed his skin colour over the years.

PS, when did you choose to be straight?
better yet, when did you choose to be a moron? You didn't? You were born that way right?
Guess what Cynthia, you heard wrong!
Just like the overplayed song goes "Born This Way". That's right Cynthia. Do a little research and don't let some wingnut tell you otherwise. Sure you can surpress your true sexual orientation many many people still do mostly because of people like you. They would rather pretend to be straight then face bigots, homophobes and just plan nasty people who make it part of their business to make their lives a living hell. I really understand why people don't come out, hell took me almost 38 years before I decided that I really didn't give a shit anymore about what people like you think. That being said I still won't let ill informed, ignorant comments like yours stand because it's total absolute bs. I know for many people like yourself it probably makes you feel better about your prejudice towards homosexuals thinking it's just something you can change like a haircut.
Closets are for shoes--not people.
@Cynthia...What testimonials are you talking about? Forced propaganda given out by somebody with a bad comb-over in a church basement hardly compares to years of psychological research. It does not work. They used to tie down the hands of left handed people to force them to write the "correct" way. That didn't work either. This merely forces people to live a lie and often makes their partners submit to that charade as well. All to what purpose? Why do you feel the need to deny people the same life to which you think you're entitled?
Color of skin equivalent?
I've never heard of anyone ever being able to change the color of their skin but I've heard lots of powerful testimonials of homosexuals changing their sexual preferences. Sarah Allis Yang has one such dramatic testimonial. Not sure I'm following your logic.
Isn't it odd
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it odd that the religious, you know, those folks just overflowing with brotherly love, empathy, compassion, ethics and morality, are the only ones needing exemption from Human Rights and Hate laws.
Not in MY business!
Bill Whatcott, fine Christian role model of Human Rights fame, says "Being forced to accept practicing homosexuals in your home (whether you have a home based business or not) is a clear violation of conscience and property rights."

Right, Bill! After all, if you owned a restaurant, it would be a clear violation of your conscience and "rights" if you were forced to serve jews and niggers. It is, after all, YOUR restaurant. Ditto for any business, eh Bill!
Don't Encourage The Troll
It's obvious "Barth" has some issues with us faggots, poor boy.
A Matter of Justice
Re: gays trying to compare their struggles with the black movement’s against racism:

Nobel-laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu preached an eloquent and important sermon at Southwark Cathedral in 2004, when he said:

“We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about—our very skin. It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given. I could not have fought against the discrimination of apartheid and not also fight against the discrimination that homosexuals endure, even in our churches and faith groups … For me this struggle is a seamless robe. Opposing apartheid was a matter of justice. Opposing discrimination against women is a matter of justice. Opposing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a matter of justice.”
Go For It Bill I Dare You
I am sure extra would take your money. Of course you are all talk and no action. Why not take out a full page ad for say 4G's, (to be honest I don't know xtra's ad rates but I know a full page ad anywhere is pricey) complete with photo's of yourself and maybe even your phone number. You won't bite because you are gutless and a coward. If you are so eager to advocate discrimination go for it, again I dare you.


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