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Bigoted Vermont Inn Owners Record Video Opposing Marriage Equality in Maine: VIDEO


You may recall that back in August Jim and Mary O'Reilly of The Wildflower Inn in Vermont agreed to pay $10,000 to the ACLU and give $20,000 to a charitable cause after settling a discrimination suit filed by a lesbian couple whose wedding reception the inn refused to host.


As part of the settlement, the Wildflower Inn agreed to no longer host wedding receptions. The inn argued in court that the meetings and events manager misapplied the resort’s policies in turning away Kate and Ming. The resort stated that instead of turning away same-sex couples who seek to hold a wedding reception, their actual policy was to not respond to phone calls or e-mails about wedding receptions for same-sex couples or to have a conversation in which the owners explained to the couple that hosting a wedding reception for a same-sex couple conflicted with their religious beliefs.

As part of the settlement agreement, however, the Wildflower Inn agreed that Vermont law prohibits unequal treatment of same-sex couples, including a failure to respond to inquiries from those couples or discouraging those couples from using the facilities.

Now, the O'Reillys are sticking their noses in Maine's marriage equality battle, starring in an ad for Protect Marriage Maine opposing Question 1 there.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Bigoted or not, they should not be forced to host receptions or weddings that violate their religious beliefs. It is one thing to outlaw discrimination based on who someone is, but it is another to say that a business owner to host events and actions that violate their religious moral beliefs. I think that is where we go too far, and it creates a big wedge issue for the anti-gay forces to use. I think we could very well lose Maine over this type of issue.

    Posted by: Javier | Oct 22, 2012 1:33:02 PM

  2. javier- so its ok then IF they dont like Inter-racial cpls then? Black cpls? Where does it end? My religion says I shouldnt rent to dull looking ugly dweebs - so I dont wanna rent to them? WHERE DOES IT STOP??? either you are in business to SERVE the public or you are not

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Oct 22, 2012 1:35:23 PM

  3. Yes Javier, sure. And if a business decides that they don't want to serve black people because of their 'beliefs' they should be free to as we'll? If you run a business you cannot discriminate in who you serve. Period.

    Posted by: Gregus | Oct 22, 2012 1:37:30 PM

  4. Nonsense.

    It would have happened even without marriage equality.

    The law they broke was the law about discrimination in public accommodations, which has been in place since 1992, long before marriage and even before civil unions.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Oct 22, 2012 1:37:53 PM

  5. Typical bait-and-switch, like the Massresistance nonsense about "teaching marriage in the schools." It's about nondiscrimination whether or not you have marriage equality.

    Maine already has a similar nondiscrimination law, so the same thing could happen even without marriage.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Oct 22, 2012 1:41:19 PM

  6. Typical bait-and-switch, like the Massresistance nonsense about "teaching marriage in the schools." It's about nondiscrimination whether or not you have marriage equality.

    Maine already has a similar nondiscrimination law, so the same thing could happen even without marriage.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Oct 22, 2012 1:41:21 PM

  7. I am not a lawyer, but I do believe that there are "Public Accommodation Laws" set the rules here. If they have a license to offer the public their services, then they have to conform to those rules. If they do not have a license, they could not be in business. So, it have been decided either all, or none, I guess they are choosing none! And that is pure choice!

    Posted by: John | Oct 22, 2012 1:42:49 PM

  8. Portland Press Herald calls the ad mostly false, because it misrepresents the legal basis of the case. The inn keepers were sued by ACLU using Vermont's 1992 public accommodations law, which Maine implemented in 2005. Even if there was no marriage in VT they would have been sued and lost, just like they would in Maine no matter the outcome of the vote. []

    Posted by: Al R | Oct 22, 2012 1:51:49 PM

  9. It is against our religion to recognize any other religion as genuine, so all you other so-called Christians, and Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, Buddhists, etc., stay away from our inn. We are open to the public, but not to you.

    Posted by: trees | Oct 22, 2012 1:57:13 PM

  10. Yep, if someone does not want to host a wedding or reception for interracial couples because of their religious beliefs, the government should not force them. They should have to serve interracial couples at restaurants, clothing stores, etc, but when it comes to forcing people to endorse the very activity that they morally object to, which is what a wedding is about, the government should not force anyone to participate or condone any wedding activity. That is freedom.

    Posted by: Javier | Oct 22, 2012 2:01:04 PM

  11. AL R, do you think that fine legal distinction will be understood and embraced by the voters, particularly the 10-15 percent swing voters that will decide the referendum? That distinction sure hasn't worked anywhere else this has been voted on.

    Posted by: Javier | Oct 22, 2012 2:02:40 PM

  12. The Bible tells me that it's fine to purchase slaves as long as they come from foreign lands, yet when I try to get them to work in my bed and breakfast, the big old government tells me I'm not allowed to do that. My religious freedoms are being trampled on and I'm not ok with that. The government needs to stay out of religion.

    Posted by: JT | Oct 22, 2012 2:12:09 PM

  13. I think they just want to get famous. It's free advertisement for them and for their business when they are in the middle of controversy. Otherwise, they have to spend much more money to promote their business to get the same kind of effect. Maybe their next move is some scandal of gay porn taken place in their room #312 while wife is out shopping, the husband is having the time of his good ol' life.

    Posted by: Shticklemyer | Oct 22, 2012 2:20:39 PM

  14. Javier - what if they don't like mexicans or Latinos? Should they be allowed to refuse public accommodation? Your arguments are ridiculous and so are you. Either you serve the entire public - or you don't. Try reading the Vermont public accommodation law before you make a fool of yourself.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Oct 22, 2012 2:26:21 PM

  15. Javier, you may want to read up on your rights. They broke the law and want to be martyred for their bigotry. A public accommodation is just that: public.

    Posted by: Jed | Oct 22, 2012 2:26:46 PM

  16. @JAVIER: I don't feel comfortable doing business with someone who has a spanish sounding name as I don't know if you are a true Catholic (the only path to heaven as we all know) . See, it sounds just as dumb as them.


    Posted by: BETTY | Oct 22, 2012 2:30:12 PM

  17. Curiously enough, if you go to their website, they still list an email address for weddings.

    I thought that they were supposed to stop offering wedding receptions per their court agreement.

    Posted by: Continuum | Oct 22, 2012 2:31:00 PM

  18. @Javier Sure they should be forced to. Sort of like when people were forced to treat black people equally.

    Posted by: Sam Armstrong | Oct 22, 2012 2:33:58 PM

  19. They only paid $ 30,000? They got off easy.

    Tax all U.S. churches now. What are we waiting for?

    Posted by: JG | Oct 22, 2012 2:36:51 PM

  20. Javier,

    would find a business that didn't serve
    Jews, blacks or Latinos acceptable?

    Sorry, we don't sell gas to Mexicans.
    Is that fine? Because using your logic it is.

    Posted by: Mike in nyc | Oct 22, 2012 2:39:05 PM

  21. Do they ask to see a marriage license before they give a reservation? Do they rent rooms to unmarried couples? Couples who have re-married after a divorce? What about couples who are married to other people looking to take their adultery to the country?

    Their weekend getaway packages must be difficult to market, you know, with them having to kick everyone out on Saturday night in order to be closed on the Sabbath?

    Posted by: BETTY | Oct 22, 2012 2:39:19 PM

  22. Betty, you point out the pious hypocrisy of these folks - they're only "Christians who care about the bible" when it comes to gays.

    as a friend related to me "my mom is Christian enough to tell me I'm going to hell for being gay but not Christian enough to have actually set foot in a church in the last 35 years."

    or how the Republicans want "bible-based" laws about social issues, but not fiscal ones, even though that Christ fella was rather clear about what the rich had an obligation to do, in regards to the poor.......

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Oct 22, 2012 2:46:47 PM

  23. "Being a family friendly inn brought us to the realization that dogs are part of the family too, so with many requests for accommodating dogs when people travel on vacation, we knew we had to become a dog friendly inn resort."

    How lovely! Dogs are a welcome part of the family...but apparently the gays aren't.

    Dog friendly :)
    Gay friendly :(

    Posted by: BETTY | Oct 22, 2012 3:07:46 PM

  24. Those two look like a fun couple...

    Posted by: ichabod | Oct 22, 2012 3:12:01 PM

  25. I am baffled why anyone would want to do business with or stay at a inn that didn't want them? I wouldn't. We have a whole lot of beautiful ""gay"" owned and operated Inns in Vermont , which are struggling to stay in business. Why don't gays support gay businesses? Who want and need the support. I am sorry but it sounds to me a lot like a lotta bad press caused by "" not lesbians or gays "" but a pair of pushy bull dykes looking for an issue.

    Posted by: jeff daglow | Oct 22, 2012 3:21:51 PM

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