Screenshot of TimberCreek website
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The attorney general of Illinois has filed a lawsuit against a Christian bed and breakfast owner for not paying $30,000 in damages to two men who filed a discrimination complaint against him after he declined to allow them to use his property to hold a ceremony celebrating their civil union.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a complaint in Ford County Circuit Court on Oct. 23 against Walder Vacuflo Inc., which operates the TimberCreek Bed and Breakfast in Paxton.
“Madigan’s complaint alleges Walder Vacuflo has failed to comply with an order issued by the Illinois Human Rights Commission (IHRC) directing the company to pay damages to a gay couple after refusing to host their civil union ceremony,” a press release from Madigan’s office outlines.
As previously reported, TimberCreek identifies itself on the main page of its website as “an upscale Christian country bed and breakfast,” situated in the midst of a small farming community. The facility hosts church retreats, baby and bridal showers, business meetings and other events.
In 2011, local resident Todd Wathen contacted TimberCreek via email to inquire if the bed and breakfast would be hosting civil union ceremonies after Illinois approved the unions that year via the “Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.” Owner Jim Walder replied that the facility had no such plans, and allegedly advised Wathen that “homosexuality is immoral and unnatural,” and that “it’s not too late to change your behavior.”
Three days later, Wathen filed a
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