Kate Baker and Ming Linsley filed the suit on Tuesday in Vermont Superior Court, accusing the Wildflower Inn of Lyndonville of abruptly turning them away after learning they are lesbians.
They claim the inn violated Vermont’s Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act, which prohibits inns, hotels, motels and other establishments with five or more rooms from turning away patrons based on sexual orientation. The law makes an exemption for religious organizations.
In other words, the lesbians wouldn't have been refused ordinary accommodation. They wanted something special--a "wedding" reception. The Catholic inn owners do not appear to believe that a wedding can consist of anything other than a bride and a groom. They do not appear to believe that two women pledging to live together and perform various sex acts on each other is a marriage; as a Catholic, I agree, by the way. And they should not be forced by any court to have to pretend that they do.
The inn's owners, Jim and Mary O'Reilly, issued a statement saying they are devout Catholics who believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman.
"We have never refused rooms or dining or employment to gays or lesbians," they wrote. "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."
But, as Mark Shea usually puts it, tolerance is not enough--you must approve. The innkeepers are being sued, essentially, for not approving of homosexual perversion and not being willing to celebrate it at their family-friendly inn.
As I've said before: we can have religious freedom in this country, or we can have state-sanctioned sexual perversion. We can't have both, and it's clear that what the state wishes to make disappear is religious freedom, which stands as too great a check against totalitarianism to be tolerated in a nation which is rapidly becoming a kakistocracy. Religious believers may have been useful in building a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but they are very much an obstacle to the next level, a government of the wealthy for the powerful by the connected. Branding religious believers as "bigots" and punishing them legally and financially for refusing to applaud and cheer for the "celebration" of two lesbians committing themselves to a life of mutual grave sin is only the first step in achieving this goal.