Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Same-sex couple prevails against B&B
From a press release
2016-03-29

This article shared 3130 times since Tue Mar 29, 2016
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


An administrative law judge with the Illinois Human Rights Commission ordered Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast, in Paxton, to stop discriminating by turning away same-sex couples from its facilities for civil unions or marriages and to pay $15,000 each to the couple who brought the case.

In 2011, Timber Creek turned away Todd and Mark Wathen, who were planning a civil union, saying "homosexuality is immoral and unnatural."

The ruling followed a hearing on damages held in Springfield in November 2015. Following the hearing, attorneys for the Wathens filed briefs to support the Wathens' request for an order to stop discriminating and pay damages, attorneys' fees and costs. The lawyers for Timber Creek failed to respond in a timely matter, leading to the judge's ruling.

In a statement, Betty Tsamis—a lawyer in private practice in Chicago who also represents the Wathens—noted that the case provides an important precedent for "protecting against discrimination directed at same-sex couples by businesses serving the public."

Press release: B&B ordered to stop discriminating and pay damages to couple it turned away

Chicago — An administrative law judge with the Illinois Human Rights Commission ordered a Paxton bed and breakfasts that denied access to a downstate couple looking to celebrate their civil union ceremony in 2011 to stop discriminating by turning away same-sex couples from its facilities for civil unions or marriages and to pay damages to the couple who brought the case. The judge had earlier ruled that Todd and Mark Wathen were denied use of the facilities was based on their sexual orientation in violation of Illinois law. This week's ruling comes after a hearing on damages held in Springfield in November 2015.

Following the hearing, attorneys for the Wathens filed briefs to support the Wathens' request for an order to stop discriminating and pay damages, attorneys' fees and costs. The lawyers for the bed & breakfast failed to respond in a timely matter, leading up to the judge's ruling.

The judge ordered the bed & breakfast to pay $15,000 each to Todd and Mark Wathen as compensation for their emotional distress arising out of the issue; directed the bed & breakfast owner to cease and desist from violating the Human Rights Act, specifically by denying same-sex couples access to their facilities and services for marriages and civil unions; ordered the bed & breakfast owner to offer the Wathens ( within one year ) access to the facility for an event celebrating their civil union; ordered the bed & breakfast owner to pay the Wathens' attorneys $50,000 in 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 criticized for who we are," said Todd Wathen of Mattoon. "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."

Shortly after Illinois approved civil unions early in 2011, Todd and Mark Wathen began planning their ceremony, searching for a location that would be convenient for their family in Kentucky and Missouri to be able to join them at a central location. After researching possible locations, they reached out via email to the Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast in Paxton — a facility that advertised itself as available for civil weddings and other events — the Wathens were rejected because their beliefs that "homosexuality is immoral and unnatural." A few days later, the owner of Timber Creek sent another email to the Wathens lecturing them about his religious opinions regarding the "gay lifestyle" and his view that "[i]t's not to[sic] late to change your behavior."

"It is critical that the judge ordered this entity to end its unlawful practices, practices that discriminate against gay and lesbian couples," added John Knight, LGBT Project Director for the ACLU of Illinois. "It is important that we have a clear and undiluted message that denying services to gay and lesbian couples for marriage and civil union ceremonies simply is not permitted in our state."

Betty Tsamis, a lawyer in private practice in Chicago who also represents the Wathens again noted that the case provides an important precedent for "protecting against discrimination directed at same-sex couples by businesses serving the public."

"The damages make plain that business owners cannot pick-and-choose to follow laws simply because they personally object to same-sex relationships," added Ms. Tsamis.

Clay A. Tillack and Tal C. Chaiken of the Chicago office of Schiff Hardin LLP also served as co-counsel in the case.


This article shared 3130 times since Tue Mar 29, 2016
facebook twitter 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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

LETTER: Unnecessary legislation
2021-01-19
To the Editor: At a time when Illinois lawmakers should be supporting healthcare heroes who are working tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic, we instead receive unwelcome new legislation that will drive up the costs of practicing ...


Gay News

Groups sue to overturn Dept. of Ed regulation that forces funding of anti-LGBTQ groups
2021-01-19
--From a press release - Washington, D.C.—January 19, 2021—Today, the national civil rights organizations American Atheists and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, on behalf of the Secular Student Alliance and a California ...


Gay News

WORLD Global Fund, Croatian case, Poland items, Hillsong
2021-01-17
In 2020, the Global Fund signed 157 grants for a total of $8.54 billion for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria programs and to strengthen systems for health—and this is the highest number of grants the program ever ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Defamation case, inauguration items, PrEP, Capitol riot
2021-01-17
A New York appeals court ruled that falsely accusing someone of being gay is no longer considered defamation per se, NBC News reported. Defamation is a false statement that damages someone's reputation. "It meant that it ...


Gay News

Gov. Pritzker activates Illinois National Guard for security of state buildings
2021-01-15
SPRINGFIELD — Governor JB Pritzker has activated 250 members of the Illinois National Guard for State Active Duty in response to the warnings issued this week by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding threats to ...


Gay News

1.2 million Black LGBT adults live in the US
2021-01-14
--From a press release by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law - A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that an estimated 1.2 million adults in the U.S. identify as Black and LGBT. Researchers found that Black LGBT people fare worse than ...


Gay News

Research on military trans ban shows urgency of Biden acting on pledge
2021-01-14
--From a press release by The Palm Center - President-elect Joseph Biden has promised to reverse the military's ban on service by transgender Americans on "day one" of his presidency. Research recently released by the Palm Center explains why lifting the ban is an urgent ...


Gay News

Trans woman, man killed in Chicago's Gresham area
2021-01-14
A transgender woman and a man were killed in a shooting Jan. 6 in Chicago's Gresham neighborhood, The Chicago Sun-Times reported. A gunman fired shots from a silver-colored vehicle about 5 a.m. in the 800 block ...


Gay News

COVID-19 Chicago's stay-at-home advisory extended
2021-01-11
Chicago's stay-at-home advisory has been extended for another 12 days (from Jan. 10), ABC7Chicago.com reported. Residents are advised to only leave their home to go to work or school, or for essential needs; examples include requiring ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Anti-bias rule nixed, trans deaths, lesbian archivist dies
2021-01-11
Under the cover of chaos the day after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, the Trump administration officially nixed regulations barring federal grantees in the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) from discriminating against LGBTQ ...


Gay News

Indiana pols propose anti-conversion therapy bill
2021-01-11
Indiana Stonewall Democrats issued a press release lauding state Sen. JD Ford (District 39) and state Rep. Sue Errington (District 26) for introducing a new bill to effectively end so-called "conversion therapy" practices across the state ...


Gay News

National Minority AIDS Council responds to attack on U.S. Capitol
2021-01-06
Jan. 6, 2021 - National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) Executive Director Paul Kawata has released the following statement on today's attack on the U.S. Capitol. "NMAC is completely saddened, sickened, and in total shock over the riots at the U.S. ...


Gay News

Report: In four years, judicial landscape has become more anti-LGBTQ+
2021-01-06
Washington, D.C. — In just four years, President Trump has ushered in a judicial landscape that is significantly more hostile toward LGBTQ+ people, with nearly 40% of Trump's confirmed federal appellate judges having demonstrated anti-LGBTQ+ bia ...


Gay News

Pfleger answers after being charged with sexually abusing child more than 40 years ago (UPDATE)
2021-01-06
Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich sent a letter to the St. Sabina parish stating that longtime activist Father Michael Pfleger will be stepping away from his ministry after being accused of sexually abusing a child more than ...


Gay News

Officer who shot Jacob Blake won't face criminal charges
2021-01-05
In Wisconsin, Kenosha County prosecutors announced Jan. 5 that the officer who shot Jacob Blake won't face criminal charges for firing several bullets into the former Evanston man's back, The Chicago Tribune reported. "No Kenosha law ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our 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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.