A gay couple won a legal battle against B&B after the owners called their relationships unnatural and refused to hold their civil union ceremony in the hotel. A year ago they were ordered to pay a fine. At three-member panel of the Illinois Human Rights Commission has backed up the judge’s ruling, declining to take on the case. TimberCreek Bed & Breakfast owner Jim Walder had written an email to the couple, to tell them that “homosexuality is immoral and unnatural,” the commission heard last year during early stages of the case. The state of Illinois legalised civil unions back in 2011 – which is when the couple tried to hire the venue – with marriage equality following in 2013.
However, Illinois has protected its people from discrimination on the grounds of their sexual orientation since 2006. By refusing service, the hotel was in breach of this law. The commission ordered TimberCreek Bed & Breakfast – in Paxton – to pay $30,000 to the couple, Todd and Mark Wathen. The commission also ordered Walder to pay $50,000 in legal fees and $1,218.35 in costs. “We are very happy that no other couple will have to experience what we experienced by being turned away and belittled and criticised for who we are,” the men said.