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Vermont Innkeepers Pay $30,000 for Expressing Religious Beliefs

 

Jim and Mary O'Reilly, owners of the Wildflower Inn, with their children

IN A REMARKABLE instance of government persecution, the owners of a Vermont Inn have agreed to pay $30,000 and curtail their business activities significantly in an out-of-court settlement of a suit by a lesbian couple and the Vermont Human Rights Commission. The lesbian couple had been falsely told by an inn employee that the resort would not host a same-sex ”wedding reception.”

What is stunning about this case is that Jim and Mary O’Reilly, owners of the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, did everything possible to reconcile their religious beliefs with the passage of civil unions and same-sex “marriage” in Vermont. They had agreed in 2005 before the Orwellian state Human Rights Commission to host same-sex receptions and the commission gave them permission (yes, they needed permission) to express to customers their belief that same-sex “marriage” was wrong before any such events were finalized. The commission had investigated the couple because they had voiced their objections to same-sex “marriage” in an honest and friendly manner to two lesbians who were potential customers without turning them away. These women, who are not the same women involved in the recently settled suit, filed a complaint with the commission.

The O’Reillys, who are Catholic and have eight children, never refused to host a lesbian “wedding.” It is being widely reported in the press today that they did. These reports are inaccurate.

Ming Linsley and Kate Baker

In 2010, after the commission had agreed they could voice their objections to customers as long as they turned no one away, the mother of Ming Linsley e-mailed the inn and inquired about a reception for her lesbian daughter. The inn’s wedding coordinator, who was operating her own wedding business on the side, told the mother that the inn did not host same-sex receptions. She later admitted under oath to having lied.

Linsley and her girlfriend, Kate Baker, joined with the ACLU and later the Human Rights Commission to sue the inn. For an excellent timeline of the suit, go here.

The Alliance Defending Freedom represented the Wildflower Inn. Senior Counsel Byron Babione said, “It is unfortunate when a state agency teams up with the ACLU to harass and punish a private family business over its owners’ constitutionally protected thoughts and beliefs. Legal attacks like this one are not pursuits for justice, but attempts to coerce and police private expression.”

The litigants announced yesterday that the O’Reillys will pay $10,000 to the Human Rights Commission and $20,000 to a charitable trust set up for the lesbian couple, who say they will give the money to an organization that supports and encourages homosexual teens. The innkeepers have also agreed to cease hosting wedding events permanently.

The constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression does not hold in Vermont. As we can see, any inn or business in Vermont that wishes to remain free of harrassment and penalties that constitute serious threats to its livelihood will have to adopt a policy of explicit friendliness and approval of all homosexual clientele. Thus through government edict, Vermont does not just tolerate homosexuality but encourages it. That is the inevitable end of the totalitarian effort to embrace non-discrimination.

—- Comments —–

Kevin M. writes:

I grew up in Vermont, where I currently live (despite having lived for various periods in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Saudi Arabia). This is what Vermont has for a population:

Rednecks
Tree-hugging, pot-smoking hippies
A thriving homosexual population More rednecks, and these are armed
Gaia-worshipping, global-cooling Earth hippies
Did I forget homosexuals?
Maybe just a few more rednecks
0.002% are relocated flatlanders who like the scenery and keep to themselves

Of all these groups, none are more odious than the homosexuals. You look cross-eyed at them and there’s a federal case. The state government will back them up like the Shariah courts in Saudi Arabia cater to the Jihadists. You can slap your kids, tell your wife her cooking will put Kal-Kan out of business, litter, pour kerosine into the rivers, go kitten-golfing…but NEVER upset the gays.

Especially the lesbians. The guy homos are relatively easy to get along with. At least they have a sense of humor…some of the time. But the lesbians are worse than biker gangs.

They OWN this place.

Jane S. writes:

I would like to validate Kevin M’s observations. The best way to stop the totalitarian march toward lesbian tyranny is for more people to go out of their way to hang out with lesbians. Associate with them as much as you can. Go to their potlucks, their drum circles, their Samhain celebrations. Hang out in lesbian bars and bookstores. They don’t mind flaunting their unpleasantness—they are proud of it. They will go out of their way to make you feel unwelcome. This will quickly cure everyone of thinking that lesbians want a tolerant society where everyone makes nice.

There’s an entire genre of lesbian literature—grab some and read it. Read Judy Grahn and Adrienne Rich. Find out how vile their cultural output is.

I don’t mean that lesbianism is morally wrong because lesbians are such nasty people. The two are inseparable. I mean that, when people experience firsthand that lesbians are really nasty people, that will wake them up to the fact that lesbianism is morally wrong, more effectively than trying to explain to them that lesbianism is morally wrong.

Terry Morris writes:

To paraphrase a sentiment I read at VFR a few days ago, let us remember that homosexuals were once denied certain priveleges in this country for a reason – to prevent this sort of thing from happening.

 Terry Morris writes:

Back in the early 1990s while stationed at Elmendorf AFB, AK., I  was part of an effort to prevent the words “sexual orientation” from being added to the city of Anchorage’s anti-discrimination law. The majority heavily favored those against adoption of the measure, but ultimately didn’t prevent its adoption. As had been warned by many on our side, those councilors who voted in favor of adoption were all summarily dismissed at the next election. And the first order of business for the new council was to repeal this measure, which it did unanimously and without fanfare. But the point is that the people of Anchorage foresaw what the ultimate outcome of such an ill-conceived notion would be and rallied to prevent it, further threatening, among other things, to leave the state in the event their wishes were not met.

Given the demographics of Vermont as reported by a commenter and confirmed by another in the thread, I’m wondering why, beyond the absolute necessity of staying there, any normal person hasn’t already left the state, as well as whether this particular case might lead to an exodus?

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