Lee and Susan Molnar, a retired couple in British Columbia, have decided to shut down their bed and breakfast rather than allow gays to stay there. The couple had converted their riverside home into a quaint lodging destination, but had a human rights complaint filed against them after refusing to open their business to gay customers.
The human rights tribunal case, which started on Wednesday, heard arguments from the couple that allowing gay people to stay in the their home would have violated their religious freedoms. While I’m pretty sure that the idea of turning away others is not Christian tenet, the bigger issue here is that this was not a private home—it ceased to be so the moment it was turned into a bed and breakfast. It was a business where customers pay to lodge for a few nights and that the owners happened to live in as well. The law is very clear about these things: You cannot refuse public services to anyone based on their sexual orientation.
The couple has done the right thing by closing their business. If their personal discriminatory tendencies prevent them from serving the public equally, then they’re simply not fit to run one. Too bad for them, too; meeting people from all walks of life would have been an enriching experience.
I’m sure some people will paint this as some sort of erosion of religious freedoms, but they’re probably forgetting this is a two-way street. Gay bed and breakfast owners can’t turn away Christian customers either.
- B.C. couple shut down B&B after discrimination complaint against them [Montreal Gazette]
- Rights hearing pits gay couple vs. B and B [CBC News]