Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-10-22
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Upcoming events in film, music, poetry Upcoming events in film, music, poetry
The Poetry Foundation and the Chicago Humanities Festival will feature a talk ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

Gay couple suing B&Bs, alleging discrimination
by Ross Forman
2011-02-23

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Todd Wathen and his partner of eight years were planning their civil union for later this year—for what would be their most joyous day together.

But now it's looking like the most shocking.

They were denied access to the special-events services of two Illinois bed-and-breakfasts that advertise publicly for such services. And the two men, from East Central, Ill., have filed complaints with the Illinois Attorney General and the Illinois Department of Human Rights, alleging violations of the Illinois Human Rights Act which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation by businesses open to the public.

The Illinois civil-union law does not take effect until June 1, so "it's not yet clear if this conduct would have been a violation of the new law [the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act], but it is a violation of already existing law," said Chicago-based attorney Betty Tsamis, of Tsamis Law Firm, P.C., which is representing Wathen and his partner. "In Illinois, it is unlawful for a business open to the public to deny goods and/or services to someone on the basis of sexual orientation."

Wathen said they are seeking a personal apology "and want to be treated with dignity and respect."

Wathen added, "Not only do we ask this for ourselves, but we ask this for every gay and lesbian person in Illinois. We want these businesses to be held to the standard of the law. I mean what will be next, if we let them discriminate against us. Are these businesses going to go backwards and start discriminating [based on a person's] race, color, sex, national origin, or what if they don't like your religion, [will they] discriminate because of that?"

Wathen and his partner are challenging the actions of The Beall Mansion in Alton, and TimberCreek Bed and Breakfast in Paxton.

One inn owner e-mailed Wathen and wrote that, even if it was the law, his business would never host gay weddings or civil unions. Several days later, the inn owner sent another e-mail to Wathen citing various Biblical verses, "detailing how the Creator of the Universe looks at the gay lifestyle" and denouncing gay people, Wathen said.

"We are shocked that these bed and breakfast business owners think that they are above the law," Wathen said. "[The] innkeeper[s] blatantly rejected and refused to abide by the laws of the State of Illinois."

Wathen, 44, said the couple now would not ever go to either of the two inns, based on the way they have been treated.

"We want other gay people to be aware of this class-based discrimination and we want to encourage members of the LGBT community to come forward if other businesses discriminate against them," Wathen said. "There still [are] going to be struggles out there for the LGBT community. We are getting closer all the time, but we are still going to have business owners out there [who] are going to try to discriminate against us, and we have to stand up, show them that we will not take it, that they to have to abide by the laws of the state of Illinois."

Tsamis added, "We make strides every day, but we still have a way to go in securing full legal equality for LGBT people. In the meantime, we tell our opponents this: We will hold you fully accountable under the law whenever you discriminate against us."

Wathen said he was, "shocked, then angry, and [then] hurt" that these businesses would treat a customer this way, particularly sending Bible-related e-mails. "They have to follow the law of the state, and if they can't do that, then they are in the wrong profession.

"I want everyone to know that I do believe in God, and I also pray to God. But I was born this way, and I don't believe that God makes mistakes. And when I want to be a paying customer at a business, I should be able to use all their services and not have to pick and choose, because of who we are, and [also not] have the owner's religious views come in between that."

Jim Belote, co-owner of The Beall Mansion, said Feb. 21 that he was not aware of the lawsuit. He added that his inn "does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, but we're not doing civil unions for gay or straight couples, among other things we don't do. We also don't do wedding rehearsal dinners, for gay or straight couples." Belote said he has "a lot of gay people" stay at his inn on a regular basis.

Jim and Bether Walder, innkeepers at Timber Creek Bed & Breakfast, were not available for comment as of press time.


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.

Oberweis: Would support federal marriage equality law 2014-10-23
Laramie Project; Boy George; Library exhibit on marriage 2014-10-22
District Court dismisses suit seeking marriage in Puerto Rico 2014-10-21
President Obama: Constitution guarantees right to marry 2014-10-21
Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton talks bigotry, marriage 2014-10-18
Federal judge rules for marriage equality in Wyoming 2014-10-17
Federal judge strikes down Arizona marriage ban 2014-10-17
Library exhibit: Gay cartoonist's view of same-sex marriage 2014-10-16
Task Force changes name; marriage news; Notre Dame 2014-10-14
HRC scores 113th Congress; Alaska marries; WH looks at AIDS, violence 2014-10-13
New studies estimate LGBT population, married couples 2014-10-13
Supreme Court: Stunning progress 2014-10-12
Federal judge affirms the freedom to marry in Alaska 2014-10-12
Federal district court in North Carolina strikes down ban 2014-10-09
West Va. AG concedes marriage ban unconstitutional 2014-10-09
Marriage article in state bar journal 2014-10-08
Dustin Lance Black talks marriage rights, traveling and London 2014-10-08
Influential LGBTs in media; marriage news; anti-trans ad 2014-10-07
Bennett and Gaga's CD; Melissa on marriage; Laverne in Vegas 2014-10-07
9th Circuit backs marriage in Idaho, Nevada 2014-10-07
Supreme Court lets stand marriage in 5 states 2014-10-06
Supreme Court paves way for marriage in 5 states 2014-10-06
Missouri judge agrees with same-sex couples 2014-10-04
DoJ to soon ask Supreme Court to uphold marriage equality 2014-09-27
Tom Daley's gig; man convicted of drinking Baileys 2014-09-23
Carmichael, Bowman wed 2014-09-22
Supreme Court: Which case makes the best case for marriage equality? 2014-09-22
Rep. candidate pushes to uphold marriage bans 2014-09-19
DOMA cartoon wins prize; Chick-fil-A founder dies 2014-09-09
Streisand Channel, Neil Patrick weds, Sam Smith does 'Fast Car' 2014-09-09
ACLU asks high court to hear Indiana, Wisconsin marriage cases 2014-09-09
9 th Circuit hears argument in Lambda marriage case in Nevada 2014-09-09
Indiana AG seeks high court review of Lambda marriage case 2014-09-09
7th Circuit rules equal marriage bans unconstitutional 2014-09-04
Utah marriage plaintiffs ask Supreme Court for review 2014-08-28
Indiana, Wisconsin couples rally before marriage hearing 2014-08-27
7th Circuit hears arguments for Indiana, Wisconsin equal marriage 2014-08-26
Couples rally in Chicago on eve of marriage hearing 2014-08-25
Florida marriage ban ruled unconstitutional by Fed Court 2014-08-21
U.S. Supreme Court blocks marriage in Virginia 2014-08-20





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
the online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

Aon, KPMG hold pro-LGBT event
 
ELECTIONS 2014 Printable Election Guide Charts
 
Sophia Bush on 'Chicago P.D.' and being an LGBT ally
 
Gay in the Life: Justin Romme
 
BENT NIGHTS Xina Xurner;'Shame That Tune'; Asgeir
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.