One attorney says it's "unfortunate" that a small business owner
in Vermont has decided to settle a complaint over a same-gender
An investigation revealed that a former employee sparked the
lawsuit against the Wildflower Inn, a family-owned and -operated
bed and breakfast in Lyndonville, by falsely reporting that the
owners would not permit the event based on their religious
beliefs. She then betrayed her employer by offering the potential
clients event services through her personal business.
Alliance Defending Freedom reports that the inn's actual
business practice, which was approved by the Vermont Human Rights
Commission in 2005, was to honestly disclose its owners' religious
convictions to potential customers while agreeing to serve everyone
in accordance with the law.
But the state Human Rights Commission and American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit, even though a subsequent
investigation revealed the inn stopped hosting weddings and
receptions three months prior and had not been violating the
Freedom attorney Jim Campbell tells OneNewsNow the Wildflower
Inn has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle the case.
"It's unfortunate, but the inn has agreed to make these payments
to end this ordeal and the threat that the litigation posed not
only to the owners' livelihood, but also to the livelihood of all
of their employees," Campbell comments.
He notes that the attorney for the Human Rights Commission also
serves as its executive director and is on the board of the ACLU of
"Legal attacks like this one are not pursuits for justice, but
attempts to coerce and police private expression," the ADF attorney
Wildflower owner Jim O'Reilly says the family business will
continue to serve the public in general, though he insists
that "no one can force [his family] to abandon [its] deeply held
beliefs about marriage."