Continuing an argument that we saw throughout the debate over the freedom to marry, a defiant wedding purveyor vows to continue to turn away business from same-sex couples seeking to celebrate their marriages at his Paxton, Illinois bed and breakfast even if he loses a suit now before the Illinois Human Rights Commission. Jim Walder told the Paxton Record that he expects the Illinois General Assembly to legislatively exempt business owners like himself from the state’s Marriage Equality Act if their religious beliefs oppose same-sex marriages. He and his lawyer further maintained that they are prepared to appeal any ruling not in their favor on the pending law-suit. The ACLU of Illinois, which brought the suit against Walder when he refused to book a civil union celebration at his Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast in 2011, told the Paxton Record that the fight for equality for same-sex couples will continue:
“Entities that conduct business with the public are bound by Illinois law not to discriminate against customers for a range of reasons, including sexual orientation,” said Ed Yohnka, director of communications and public policy for the ACLU of Illinois. “The notion that we would carve out an exception to these laws for businesses that want to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples is something that we oppose strenuously.
“If such a carve-out is allowed, what next? Could a business say that they have a religious objection to folks of other religious beliefs, or against women? We do not let people pick and choose which non-discrimination laws they follow. We enforce the law for the benefit of everyone. Changing that policy invites chaos.”