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Vermont Catholic innkeepers who refused lesbian wedding reception settle with ACLU

August 24, 2012

Wishing “to end this ordeal and the threat that the litigation” posed, a Vermont inn that refused to host a lesbian wedding reception has settled with the American Civil Liberties Union.

“We have never refused rooms or dining or employment to gays or lesbians,” Jim and Mary O’Reilly, owners of the Wildflower Inn in Lydonville, had said after the lawsuit was filed in 2011. “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.”

Under the terms of the settlement, the Wildflower Inn will pay $10,000 to the Vermont Human Rights Commission and $20,000 to a charitable trust governed by the lesbian couple. The inn will also stop hosting weddings.

“The Wildflower Inn has always served -- and will continue to serve -- everyone in our community,” Jim O’Reilly after the settlement. “But no one can force us to abandon our deeply held beliefs about marriage.”


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  • Posted by: meegan2136289 - Sep. 02, 2012 8:22 PM ET USA

    I read in a different source (Lifesite perhaps?) that the O'Reillys were going to give up the wedding part of their business anyways. Anyone else hear anything about this? I'm extremely disappointed they settled, not only due to the principles involved, but also because this will probably encourage other such suits.

  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Aug. 27, 2012 12:28 PM ET USA

    This looks like a set-up by the gay community, similar to the one that was perpetrated against a Christian guest-house in Cornwall, England, by a couple of gays 'on vacation'. There does seem to be an organized campaign to drive Christian hoteliers and motel owners out of business by using the law to punish them for refusing to accommodate gays in such a way that would seem to recognize their relationships as normal.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 26, 2012 11:08 PM ET USA

    This "settlement" sounds like a thuggish shakedown of the innkeepers by the ACLU and the gay couple. Expect more of the same.

  • Posted by: Mike in Toronto - Aug. 26, 2012 10:31 AM ET USA

    MAG asks "where else in the world do you see that behavior?" I reply, sadly, Canada.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Aug. 25, 2012 3:02 PM ET USA

    The O'Reilly's will allow us to send money to help with expenses. I sent the following message to Matt Ryan at the Burlington Free Press: An organization that I belong to wants to help Jim and Mary O'Reilly pay their $20,000 and $10,000 fines. I found their website online and left a phone message offering to send money...I am writing to thank you for writing the news article, and your newspaper for publishing it. Otherwise we would not have discovered this new way to serve the people of God.

  • Posted by: R. Spanier (Catholic Canadian) - Aug. 25, 2012 10:57 AM ET USA

    Hopefully the Knights of Columbus, who the Holy Father recently encouraged to continue bearing witness to authentic Catholic principles in public life, will help Jim and Mary O’Reilly pay these unjust "settlement" fines.

  • Posted by: MAG - Aug. 25, 2012 7:37 AM ET USA

    They were held hostage and forced to pay a ransom. Where else in the world do you see that behavior?

  • Posted by: HKS - Aug. 25, 2012 12:18 AM ET USA

    What a shame it had to happen at all. What courage the O'Reilly's have. Maybe some of us should tell people we know online about this and all send a few dollars to help them with these unjust penalties.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2012 5:50 PM ET USA

    Their - the innkeepers- religious freedom has been terribly violated. Terrible outcome.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Aug. 24, 2012 1:28 PM ET USA

    The frightening part of the Gay and totalitarian onslaughts on Christians is their diabolical (literally) determination to make us do what we do not will to do. In addition to shaking these folks down financially, they forced them out of the market for hosting weddings. I do not know what nonprofit organizations the O'Neills were forced to pay tribute to. What utter degradation.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2012 11:53 AM ET USA

    All are now conscripted in the Universal Church of Relativism and MUST pay homage and obeisance to the god Tolerance. No opposition to Tolerance shall be tolerated. The High Priests (no gender implied) of PC, Leveling, and Uniformity shall enforce the edicts of Tolerance through strict application of intolerance toward intolerance. Those refusing to approve of all in every way shall be excluded for the sake Inclusion. No personal use of conscience or reason shall be tolerated by Tolerance.

  • Posted by: Leferink557202 - Aug. 24, 2012 10:51 AM ET USA

    Another faith-filled organization being bullied in the name of "tolerance"

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Aug. 24, 2012 10:07 AM ET USA

    So, the O’Reilly's income has been reduced by homosexual marriage. This is but one answer to the question, "How does 'gay' marriage hurt Catholics?"