A gay couple who were refused a room at a bed and breakfast in Grand Forks, British Columbia, have been awarded $4,500 in costs and damages.
Shaun Eadie and Brian Thomas took bed and breakfast owners Susan and Les Molnar to court after Susan initially accepted their reservation before husband Les rang back to check if they were a gay couple.
When Eadie confirmed that they were he was told that it was ‘not going to work out’ and Les Molnar cancelled the booking.
Eadie and Thomas later made a human rights complaint.
Susan and Les Molnar argued they were protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms from having to accept a booking from a gay couple as it conflicted with their Christian beliefs and tried to argue that their home was a place of worship as they had held religious gatherings in their home and had it blessed by priests.
However Section 8 of the B.C. Human Rights Code states that a person must not “without a bona fide and reasonable justification” deny any accommodation “customarily available to the public” on the basis of sexual orientation.
‘[Les Molnar] testified that it would have shamed him and his Lord if he had allowed [Eadie and Thomas] to share one bed,’ British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal member Enid Marion wrote in her ruling.
‘[But] having entered into the commercial sphere, the Molnars, like other business people, were required to comply with the laws of the province … that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,’ Marion wrote.
‘[Eadie and Thomas’] sexual orientation was a factor, if not the sole factor, in the cancellation of their reservation. In this regard, I am not persuaded by the respondents’ argument that a distinction should be made between sexual orientation and sexual conduct and that, had the complainants’ provided certain assurances that they would not engage in sexual relations, then they may have been provided with accommodation.’
The Molnar’s have since retired from the bed and breakfast business.