Paxton, Illinois Bed and Breakfast owner Jim Walder has spoken out about his staunch refusal to serve gay couples on their wedding day.
"As long as I own TimberCreek, there will never be a gay marriage at this wedding venue," Walder said.
The News-Gazette reported that Walder is facing legal repercussions for his actions. A gay couple filed a civil rights complaints against him in 2011, alleging discrimination when he refused to host their civil union ceremony. The Illinois Human Rights Commission is due to issue a ruling.
"I totally support exemptions for everyone doing business in the wedding industry regarding civil unions or gay marriage," Walder said, seeing a threat to conservative Christian photographers, caterers, bakers and wedding planners.
Arizona Republican lawmakers are pushing a bill along the lines that Walder suggests. The bill would protect business owners from discrimination suits on the grounds of their Christian beliefs.
The Advocate reported that Walder told Todd Wathen, the man who filed the discrimination suit with his partner, that homosexuality was “unnatural.” And he sent him Bible passages to boot.
“Hi Todd, I know you may not want to hear this, but I thought I would send along a couple of verses in Romans 1 detailing how the Creator of the Universe looks at the gay lifestyle,” Walder wrote in an email. “It’s not to late to change your behavior.”
Same-sex marriage will officially be legal in Illinois on June 1.
In Oregon, the owners of the bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa were found guilty of discrimination for refusing their services to a lesbian couple. They came out with an equally defensive statement, telling news media that they would “stand by what we believe.”