CWN - August 24, 2012
Wishing “to end this ordeal and the threat that the litigation” posed, a Vermont inn that refused to host a lesbian wedding reception has settled with the American Civil Liberties Union.
“We have never refused rooms or dining or employment to gays or lesbians,” Jim and Mary O’Reilly, owners of the Wildflower Inn in Lydonville, had said after the lawsuit was filed in 2011. “Many of our guests have been same-sex couples. We welcome and treat all people with respect and dignity. We do not however, feel that we can offer our personal services wholeheartedly to celebrate the marriage between same-sex couples because it goes against everything that we as Catholics believe in.”
Under the terms of the settlement, the Wildflower Inn will pay $10,000 to the Vermont Human Rights Commission and $20,000 to a charitable trust governed by the lesbian couple. The inn will also stop hosting weddings.
“The Wildflower Inn has always served -- and will continue to serve -- everyone in our community,” Jim O’Reilly after the settlement. “But no one can force us to abandon our deeply held beliefs about marriage.”