Tribunal hears gay rights complaint against B.C. B&B
The owners of a bed and breakfast are before a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in Kelowna for turning away a homosexual couple.
Shaun Eadie testified on Monday he booked a single-bed room for himself and his partner, Brian Thomas, in June 2009 at the Riverbend Bed and Breakfast in Grand Forks, B.C., with owner Susan Molnar.
Minutes later, Eadie said, her husband Les Molnar called back and asked if the couple was gay. When Eadie said they were, Molnar cancelled the booking, saying it was not going to work.
Eadie told the tribunal he was shocked by the denial, said 'Wow,' and hung up the phone.
Thomas said the rejection felt like getting the wind knocked out of him, and brought back memories of bullying and discrimination.
Thomas filed the complaint shortly after the phone conversation.
Christian beliefs drove booking denial
During Monday's hearing, Les Molnar told the tribunal he and his wife started their bed and breakfast to share their home with visitors in accordance with their Christian beliefs.
He explained that they even used the Christian fish symbol in some of their advertising.
Molnar admitted he would not rent a single-bed room to a gay couple for fear their behaviour would go against the family's Christian beliefs.
In an application to have the complaint dismissed submitted last year, Molnar acknowledged he did deny the couple accommodation because of their sexual orientation.
"[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," Molnar said.
"[To do so would be] encouraging something which I believe to be wrong according to my religious beliefs and understanding of scripture."
The Molnars have also argued their Charter rights to freedom of religion and association protected their decision not to do business with the gay couple.
The application to dismiss the complaint was turned down in a decision issued in March 2010.
The Molnars have since shut down the bed and breakfast, claiming they were harassed after the complaint was made public.
With files from the CBC's Brady Strachan