- KELOWNA, British Columbia, October 20, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A complaint by two homosexual men, who say they were “discriminated against” when an elderly retired couple refused them lodgings at their Bed & Breakfast (B&B) in 2009, was heard by B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal yesterday.
Smith, the Molnar’s lawyer, told LifeSiteNews that a decision had not been reached yesterday, and that it might take until the new year.
“All of the evidence is in and the arguments have been made and Madame Chair Enid Marion has reserved [judgment],” he said. “She indicated to us that they are very backed up and short of staff and she is going to do her best but it could be two to three months.”
In June of 2009, Shaun Eadie and Brian Thomas, two homosexual males, made reservations by phone at the Riverbend B&B in Grand Forks, B.C. operated by Les and Susan Molnar in their own home.
After Mr. Molnar learned that Mr. Eadie and Mr. Thomas were two homosexual men who had requested “one bed” for the night, he called them back saying: “I’m sorry I don’t think it’s going to work out.”
Mr. Eadie reportedly responded “wow,” and there was no further discussion between the homosexual men and the Molnars.
The two men filed a complaint under section 8 of the B.C. Human Rights Code, which states that it is a discriminatory practice to “deny to a person or class of persons any accommodation” because of “sexual orientation.”
While Mr. Molnar admits that he denied the two homosexual men accommodation, he argued before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in March of 2010 that “[t]o allow a gay couple to share a bed in my Christian home would violate my Christian beliefs and cause me and my wife great distress.”
During the March 2010 hearing, the Molnars sought to have the cased dismissed arguing, “our private dwelling house should have a modified standard under the Code under specific restrictive circumstances because of our religious (moral) beliefs.”
Tribunal Member Murray Geiger-Adams denied the dismissal stating that while he understood that the Molnars were “responding in good faith to their perception of what would make all their guests and themselves comfortable, and what their religious principles required,” and that they did not have any “ill intent” on their part, at the same time, discrimination does not “require an intention to contravene this Code.”
“As the Tribunal and the courts have frequently held with respect to human rights legislation, it is not a respondent’s [i.e. the Molnars] intention, but the effect of their conduct on a complainant [i.e. the two homosexual men], which is relevant in considering whether discrimination has occurred.”
The Molnars opened their Bed & Breakfast in 2002. After the June 2009 complaint by the two homosexual men, the Molnars felt they had no choice but to shut down their operation, which they did a few months later, fearing that they might receive another request for lodging from a homosexual couple.
“They don’t know what kind of behaviour they can say ‘no’ to in their home,” said the Molnar’s lawyer at the time, Ron Smith from Smith/Peacock Lawyers to the National Post. “They don’t want another human-rights complaint [filed against them].”
“They’re just a retired couple in Grand Forks who thought they would open their home to guests and here they are in the centre of a firestorm,” he said. “They’re a lovely couple. They don’t want to be thought of as discriminating, but they’re Christians who don’t feel they can violate their religious beliefs.”