B&B owner who said being gay is ‘immoral and unnatural’ loses another legal battle

The owners of a B&B which claimed homosexuality was “immoral and unnatural” has lost out again after a gay couple won another legal victory against them.

A judge last year ordered a homophobic hotel owner to pay a fine of $80,000 after he refused to allow a same-sex couple to hire his venue for a civil union ceremony.

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,” Todd Wathen said last year.

In December, staff at a hotel in Iowa made an emergency call to the police to report two black transgender guests and “make sure they’re not hookers”.

The pair were en route to attend a funeral when they checked into the Drury Hotel in West Des Moines.

However, shocking audio obtained afterwards revealed that hotel staff panicked when they saw the women, and decided to dial 911 to report their “suspicious” guests.

In audio of the call, the general manager at the hotel is heard asking to run the women’s details because she doesn’t trust them.