A Christian Illinois couple has lost a lawsuit to a gay couple whose civil union ceremony they refused to hold at their bed and breakfast.
Jim and Beth Walder, owners of the Timber Creek Bed & Breakfast in Paxton, Illinois, were fined $80,000 by the Human Rights Commission for refusing to host the civil union of Todd and Mark Wathen in 2011, according to Christian Today.
When the Wathens contacted the Walders about having their ceremony at the bed and breakfast the Walders explained, "We will never host same-sex civil unions. We will never host same-sex weddings even if they become legal in Illinois. We believe homosexuality is wrong and unnatural based on what the Bible says about it. If this is discrimination, I guess we unfortunately discriminate.”
The Walders have also been ordered to pay $15,000 each to Mark and Todd Wathen, as well as $50,000 in attorney fees, and $1,218.35 in other costs.
Despite the fines, the Walders remain committed to their beliefs.
"In our opinion, neither the state of Illinois nor the U.S. Supreme Court has the authority to tamper with the definition of marriage. God alone created marriage and declared thousands of years ago that it was to be between a man and a woman. Not two men. Not two women," the couple stated.
Although the American Civil Liberties Union welcomed the ruling, the Walders say it shows that religious freedom is restricted in Illinois.
Publication date: April 1, 2016
Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the outdoors, or reading, she can be found mostly in Richmond, VA writing primarily about nature, nostalgia, faith, family, and Jane Austen.