B&B fined $80 000 for refusing to host gay civil union ceremony

b&b fined
B&B owner, Jim Walder…not backing down despite big fine. (PHOTO: Lifesite News)

Originally published in Christian News Network

‘Our policy will not be changing,’ say owners

The owners of a bed and breakfast in Illinois have been ordered to pay $80 000 (R1 178 500) after they declined to host a civil union ceremony for two homosexual men on the premises, and have been mandated to facilitate a celebration for the men at their facility within one year.

TimberCreek Bed and Breakfast in Paxton, Illinois is “an upscale Christian country bed and breakfast,” according to its website, and is situated in the midst of a small farming community. Owners Jim and Beth Walder also host church retreats, baby and bridal showers, business meetings and other events at the facility.

In 2011, Todd Wathen contacted TimberCreek via email to inquire if the bed and breakfast would be hosting civil union ceremonies after Illinois approved the unions that year via the “Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.” Jim Walder replied that the facility had no such plans, and advised Wathen that “homosexuality is immoral and unnatural,” and that “it’s not too late to change your behavior.”

Discrimination complaint
Three days later, Wathen filed a discrimination complaint with the Illinois Human Rights Commission. The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (ACLU) also soon became involved and sought emotional damages for Wathen and his partner, Mark.

Now, Michael Robinson, an administrative law judge appointed by the Commission, has ordered Walder to pay $30 000 in damages to the men ($15 000 each), as well as $50 000 in attorney’s fees and more than $1 200 in costs.

Robinson also mandated that Walder follow the Illinois Human Rights Act by not declining further events, and that he additionally host Wathen’s celebration at the bed and breakfast within one year. The two men held a ceremony in their yard in 2011 after being declined; they did not seek other facilities as alternatives.

“We are very happy that no other couple will have to experience what we experienced by being turned away and belittled and criticized for who we are,” Wathen told reporters this week. “In addition, the monetary award represents a recognition by the judge that Mark and I suffered a real harm—that we were embarrassed and humiliated.”

However, in a statement issued to the Ford County Record, Walder has stated that he cannot comply with the order.
“To be absolutely clear, we cannot host a same-sex wedding even though fines and penalties have been imposed by the Illinois Human Rights Commission,” he said. “Our policy will not be changing.”

“We are not looking for a fight, but when immoral laws are purposely passed (or deemed constitutional) that blatantly conflict with God’s word, and when the heavy hand of government tries to force us as Christians to embrace sinful behavior, we have a moral obligation to resist and stand for biblical truth,” Walder stated, quoting from Acts 5:29, which reads, “It is better to obey God than men.”

TimberCreek’s website further outlines that the Walders hold no malice toward those who identify as homosexuals, but that they cannot be personal participants and facilitators of other men’s sins.

Right and wrong
“It is not an issue of fairness or equality, but an issue of right and wrong. We cannot be part of what God condemns,” it states. “Be assured that we are not lawless, hateful, judgmental, bigoted, or activists by any definition. We did not initiate the present controversy. We are not the ones who voted to change the 6,000 year-old definition of marriage. We are just small business owners trying to be consistent in following God’s word and living it out practically in our lives.”

“[The homosexual agenda] uses anti-discrimination laws as a bully club when dissenting Americans disagree with men trying to marry men, women marrying women, men changing to women, and women changing to men,” the site reads. “It basically says that God is confused by marriage, family and sexuality and that we need to correct His mistakes.”

13 Comments

  1. Keep on fighting the good fight of faith. Hold on to that which is righteous and run with endurance the race that is set before you. God bless Timber Creek B&B. Mark Clifford cape town

  2. Respect for standing firm on God’s Word.

  3. It remains lamentable that Christians at ground level are increasingly being persecuted for what glorious church leadership had failed to secure and sustain over the ages.

    • This is the character of the sodomite spirit: must devile everything that belongs to God. True children of the Most High God will NEVER seek places where homosexuals frequent or own. NEVER!! May the Lord bless Jim Walder….

  4. Patricia Intersext

    Again the ignorance of the human nature. “homosexuality is immoral and unnatural,” is a lot of nonsense. For homosexual/gay call it what you like it is 100% natural. They are able to love just the way any other “straight” couple does. Perhaps considering the laws of the land they should refrain from hosting weddings as they cannot refuse clients based on gender or religion. If a straight couple living together wanted to get married would they decline them for being “fornicators” – probably not. hashtag just saying

    • Fornication, adultery, homosexual acts, incest and bestiality are all forbidden.
      The same-sex compulsion is about perverted lust, not love, and is the result of sexual and emotional brokenness, whether through alienation or sexual molestation.
      The issue here is that acceptance of the alphabet-soup of sexual perversions is being forced on Christians. Keep your perversions to yourself.

      • do some studies and homework ifyou will. most if not all “homosexuals” we’ve interviewed were neither molested, nor emotionally broken and if that were the recipe for being a homosexual then a lot more of society would be that way. that is a lie that the church has preached far too long my dear. The word Homosexual does not even appear in the bible til the late 1800s and was a mistranslation from the word arsenekoi – look it up for yourself

        • Mike Guest (B.Th.)

          Hi Patricia and P Karl. This whole thing is not about the reasons for or about condemnation of homosexuals, it is about the law of God in the Judeo-Christian Bible. If one professes to be a Christian, then one has to live by every word of God. In God’s word, homo sexual acts are prohibited. Furthermore, there are plenty of other establishments run by non-Christians who be quite happy to accept their custom and their money – the Walders were simply targeted in order to make a statement.If people are happy to be homosexuals, that is their business – just leave the rest of us alone, but it is high time that we Christians stop allowing a very small portion of the population to dictate to the majority!

  5. It is not even here about homosexual rights or being hurt or whatever IT IS ALLLL ABOUT THE MONEY! Why did they go to this couple’s bed and breakfast? There is 100’s of other bed and breakfasts! They WANTED MONEY! They know that if they go to the CHRISTIAN bed and breakfast THEY CAN MAKE MONEY by suing them. This is REALLY what it is all about! Nothing more, nothing less! And the government is too blind to see it. How sad!!!!!

  6. It’s you Patricia who is displaying in your comment a highest level of human ignorance, stating ungodly and highly wicked thing “natural” what do you mean? the Creator, God of nature never created that, that’s only evil spirits that possesses gays and lesbians, that may only confuse you people not God and True Christians, true repentance in deliverance brakes that spirit and eyes of understanding get opened and see that God is A God of perfection everyone was born “straight” then somewhere got polluted now forcing yourselves in other people’s space, please do your wickedness away from Christian properties, I stand with you B&B guys, I’m sure on this, Jehovah will arise on your behalf and let all His enemies be scattered, in the Name of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus!

    • most case studies show that this so-called deliverance from “evil spirits” is nonsense. many of the conversion therapies have blood on their hands because these men and woman cannot live with the guilt put on them and end up commiting suicide. there’s a huge lie and misconception out there regarding human sexuality. I am very much against anyone forcing any view of any nature on people. The B&B guys need to withdraw their adverts on weddings then as they cannot refuse a couple just like I cannot refuse anyone sitting at my table to drink a cup of coffee at my coffee shop because someone is gay or living with their partner or whatever. enough said. do some research I urge you

  7. P Karl, you may continue believing your case studies, but us Born-Again Christians believes only the Bible as the Word of God, you may also use all your “wisdom” but a time will come The God you disobey now on earth, considering His Word (deliverance) as nonsense you will still meet Him after your death, your soul now and have to give account, where will you spend eternity? unless you are born -again you will never inherit the kingdom of God, I also urge you to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and study the Scriptures for research, surely the eyes of your understanding will be enlightened! I bless you B&B guys! remember He Is the Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!

  8. Rev Ian L Karshagen

    God’s Word is our supreme constitution! Governments and other agents who oppose this are in for a rude awakening.