Tuesday, 24 July 2012

B&B Owners and Sexual Orientation - Canada

A recent case in Canada deals with almost exactly the same legal question as was considered by the Court of Appeal in February in the case of  Bull v Hall & Preddy [2012] EWCA Civ 83 which I blogged about  here 10 February 2012.   

The issue in both cases involved the Christian Owners of a Bed and Breakfast establishment refusing to let out a double bed room to a Same Sex Couple.  

 In Eadie and Thomas v. Riverbend Bed and Breakfast and others (No. 2),2012 BCHRT 247   the Christian owners of a bed and breakfast in British Columbia have been ordered to pay around $4,500 in damages after they refused to rent a room to a same sex couple.

Brian Thomas and Shaun Eadie had reserved a room at the Riverbend B&B in Grand Forks in June 2009, but owners Les and Susan Molnar cancelled the reservation after realising they were a homosexual couple.  Thomas and Eadie then filed a complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal  which ruled in their favour..

Tribunal member Enid Marion ordered the Molnars to “cease and desist the discriminatory conduct,” (apparently they had already closed the B&B down in September 2009 as a result of the incident.)

Marion agreed with the two men that the Molnars violated section 8 of the B.C. Human Rights Code , which states that it is a discriminatory practice to
“deny to a person or class of persons any accommodation” because of “sexual orientation.”

He ordered them to pay each man $1,500 for damages to “dignity, feelings and self-respect,” in addition to their travel expenses and lost wages for the tribunal proceedings. In the judgment he wrote

“Having entered into the commercial sphere, the Molnars, like other business people, were required to comply with the laws of the province ... that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,”  
The legal reasoning in this Canadian decision seems indistinguishable from the reasoning in the English "Bull v Hall " case in February


Anonymous said...

one of the side-effects of the Bull case has been a clamp down on flat/room-mate adverts which seems to have been started somewhat quieter than the approach to the Bulls case was. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18588612).

Interestingly the day after the BBC article, Anglican Mainstream publicised the legal action against the QEII Conference Centre for not letting out a great big room to them for Marriage conference.

Charles said...

It's a good thing that each man is compensated for such discriminatory act!