Pay Up Time! Anti-LGBT Fine of the Week! (VT Inn to Pay $30k to Lesbian Couple)

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 23, 2012 9:52 PM GMT
    'ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching' goes the register...

    VT DiggerA lesbian couple who sued a Vermont inn last year after they were turned away because of their sexual orientation won a settlement today.

    The Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville acknowledged it had broken the law and agreed to pay $30,000 in fines and damages.

    Kate Baker and Ming-Lein Linsley were outraged when they found out Linsley’s mother, who was organizing the reception for the New York couple’s destination wedding in Vermont, was turned away by the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville.

    Together with the Vermont Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the couple filed suit against the inn last July. In October, the Vermont Human Rights Commission joined in the lawsuit. The commission is the state body responsible for enforcing human rights laws.

    Today, the parties settled the dispute, closing an unpleasant chapter for both the inn and the couple.

    According to the settlement, the Wildflower Inn was acting in good faith and in compliance with a 2005 decision by the Vermont Human Rights Commission that said that while no public establishment may refuse to serve a customer based on sexual orientation, the inn could advise potential customers of the owners’ Catholic beliefs.

    Based on that decision, the Wildflower Inn’s stated policy was to ignore all calls and emails from same-sex couples hoping to host a wedding or reception at the inn. If confronted, their policy was to advise the couple that the owners did not believe in same-sex marriage, but would host the reception if they really wanted to...

    Dan Barrett, an attorney for ACLU-Vermont, said the settlement asserted that the 2005 decision was no longer valid.

    “What this settlement makes clear is that you can’t discourage and get away with it. Discouragement or any unequal treatment of LGBT customers is [legally] the same as an outright refusal,” he said...

    “This case really isn’t about allowing or not allowing people to have their personal beliefs, it’s really about this is a place that’s supposed to accommodate the public,” Kate Linsley said in an interview.

    Under the Fair Housing and Accommodations Act, public inns in Vermont with more than five beds and no stated religious affiliation are not allowed to discriminate based sexual orientation.

    The Linsleys say they’re happy with the outcome.

    The Wildflower Inn must now pay a civil penalty of $10,000 to the Vermont Human Rights Commission and establish a $20,000 charitable trust for the Linsleys. Some of the money will go towards the legal costs the couple incurred over the past year while the vast majority will go to charities of their choosing.

    “We’re definitely going to give probably the largest chunk of it to the Trevor Project,” Kate said. The Trevor project is a national organization with the goal of supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgendered and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth and preventing suicide among that group.


    Congrats to the Linsleys.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 23, 2012 9:56 PM GMT
    Yay! icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 23, 2012 10:44 PM GMT
    Not sure how I feel about this. So if the inn hadn't turned away the lesbian couple but told them they don't approve of marriage for gay people then the lesbian couple would have supported the homophobes with their destination wedding dollars anyway? Or are they not allowed to let their customers know that they are homophobic? In which case wouldn't we want to know?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 23, 2012 11:19 PM GMT
    Nice!! icon_cool.gif
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Aug 24, 2012 12:40 AM GMT
    theantijock saidNot sure how I feel about this. So if the inn hadn't turned away the lesbian couple but told them they don't approve of marriage for gay people then the lesbian couple would have supported the homophobes with their destination wedding dollars anyway? Or are they not allowed to let their customers know that they are homophobic? In which case wouldn't we want to know?


    Well they'd get sued if they discriminated over race or religion, which is the only reason they don't. They pretty much have to keep those prejudices to themselves. There was a time when they didn't have to. I think this will mean future gay couples will be accommodated without knowing how the owners feel about them. It's good because like it it not they'll get used to us.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 1:14 AM GMT
    HottJoe said
    theantijock saidNot sure how I feel about this. So if the inn hadn't turned away the lesbian couple but told them they don't approve of marriage for gay people then the lesbian couple would have supported the homophobes with their destination wedding dollars anyway? Or are they not allowed to let their customers know that they are homophobic? In which case wouldn't we want to know?


    Well they'd get sued if they discriminated over race or religion, which is the only reason they don't. They pretty much have to keep those prejudices to themselves. There was a time when they didn't have to. I think this will mean future gay couples will be accommodated without knowing how the owners feel about them. It's good because like it it not they'll get used to us.


    Yeah, I get that. But what if they cater the wedding with chicken?

    I think what my point is--and I haven't thought this out; it is just my initial gut reaction--is that while I easily agree of course that they shouldn't be able to discriminate, I'm not sure that declaring discouragement discrimination benefits if preventing that hides from us who we might be supporting with our consumer dollars.

    What you've done is taken the route of that shock jock someone posted, Stern? whatever, whereby it shouldn't matter what a company's politics are so long as they don't discriminate in the practice of their own business (though they may be taking those monies and funding policies which work to discriminate). And I don't know that we can yet afford that.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 1:35 AM GMT
    theantijock said
    HottJoe said
    theantijock saidNot sure how I feel about this. So if the inn hadn't turned away the lesbian couple but told them they don't approve of marriage for gay people then the lesbian couple would have supported the homophobes with their destination wedding dollars anyway? Or are they not allowed to let their customers know that they are homophobic? In which case wouldn't we want to know?


    Well they'd get sued if they discriminated over race or religion, which is the only reason they don't. They pretty much have to keep those prejudices to themselves. There was a time when they didn't have to. I think this will mean future gay couples will be accommodated without knowing how the owners feel about them. It's good because like it it not they'll get used to us.


    Yeah, I get that. But what if they cater the wedding with chicken?

    I think what my point is--and I haven't thought this out; it is just my initial gut reaction--is that while I easily agree of course that they shouldn't be able to discriminate, I'm not sure that declaring discouragement discrimination benefits if preventing that hides from us who we might be supporting with our consumer dollars.

    What you've done is taken the route of that shock jock someone posted, Stern? whatever, whereby it shouldn't matter what a company's politics are so long as they don't discriminate in the practice of their own business (though they may be taking those monies and funding policies which work to discriminate). And I don't know that we can yet afford that.

    What is not in the article above is how the couple learned of the policy of the inn. Their policy was to not respond or get back with those inquiring about same-sex wedding receptions, as told above. In this case, the event manager of the inn told them that the inn did not do same-sex wedding receptions and refused to service them. If the inn had never gotten back to them, they may have never learned of the policy. Unofficially, these policies probably still exist and will continue to exist as some businesses.
  • KissTheSky

    Posts: 1980

    Aug 24, 2012 2:05 AM GMT
    If you're a hateful bigot who can't stand being around minorities, perhaps hospitality is not the best line of work for you? icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 2:09 AM GMT
    Iceblink said
    theantijock said
    HottJoe said
    theantijock saidNot sure how I feel about this. So if the inn hadn't turned away the lesbian couple but told them they don't approve of marriage for gay people then the lesbian couple would have supported the homophobes with their destination wedding dollars anyway? Or are they not allowed to let their customers know that they are homophobic? In which case wouldn't we want to know?


    Well they'd get sued if they discriminated over race or religion, which is the only reason they don't. They pretty much have to keep those prejudices to themselves. There was a time when they didn't have to. I think this will mean future gay couples will be accommodated without knowing how the owners feel about them. It's good because like it it not they'll get used to us.


    Yeah, I get that. But what if they cater the wedding with chicken?

    I think what my point is--and I haven't thought this out; it is just my initial gut reaction--is that while I easily agree of course that they shouldn't be able to discriminate, I'm not sure that declaring discouragement discrimination benefits if preventing that hides from us who we might be supporting with our consumer dollars.

    What you've done is taken the route of that shock jock someone posted, Stern? whatever, whereby it shouldn't matter what a company's politics are so long as they don't discriminate in the practice of their own business (though they may be taking those monies and funding policies which work to discriminate). And I don't know that we can yet afford that.

    What is not in the article above is how the couple learned of the policy of the inn. Their policy was to not respond or get back with those inquiring about same-sex wedding receptions, as told above. In this case, the event manager of the inn told them that the inn did not do same-sex wedding receptions and refused to service them. If the inn had never gotten back to them, they may have never learned of the policy. Unofficially, these policies probably still exist and will continue to exist as some businesses.


    Right. I had read that someplace too. Just tried to refind but couldn't. But it seems to me this goes beyond outright refusal.

    Here I think is my issue from the Digger article:

    “What this settlement makes clear is that you can’t discourage and get away with it. Discouragement or any unequal treatment of LGBT customers is [legally] the same as an outright refusal,

    Now I can certainly see how "discouragement" by informing someone of your religion or politics could be viewed as intimating and thereby discriminatory. But on the other hand, here we are publishing lists of companies which support the right wing & boycotting chicken.

    Are we saying that we'd rather not know that ChicFilet doesn't like us? Is that what we just won?

    And more bizarre: Is the funding of intimidating organizations discouraging so now illegal? Wouldn't that be convenient.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 2:21 AM GMT
    theantijock said
    Iceblink said
    theantijock said
    HottJoe said
    theantijock saidNot sure how I feel about this. So if the inn hadn't turned away the lesbian couple but told them they don't approve of marriage for gay people then the lesbian couple would have supported the homophobes with their destination wedding dollars anyway? Or are they not allowed to let their customers know that they are homophobic? In which case wouldn't we want to know?


    Well they'd get sued if they discriminated over race or religion, which is the only reason they don't. They pretty much have to keep those prejudices to themselves. There was a time when they didn't have to. I think this will mean future gay couples will be accommodated without knowing how the owners feel about them. It's good because like it it not they'll get used to us.


    Yeah, I get that. But what if they cater the wedding with chicken?

    I think what my point is--and I haven't thought this out; it is just my initial gut reaction--is that while I easily agree of course that they shouldn't be able to discriminate, I'm not sure that declaring discouragement discrimination benefits if preventing that hides from us who we might be supporting with our consumer dollars.

    What you've done is taken the route of that shock jock someone posted, Stern? whatever, whereby it shouldn't matter what a company's politics are so long as they don't discriminate in the practice of their own business (though they may be taking those monies and funding policies which work to discriminate). And I don't know that we can yet afford that.

    What is not in the article above is how the couple learned of the policy of the inn. Their policy was to not respond or get back with those inquiring about same-sex wedding receptions, as told above. In this case, the event manager of the inn told them that the inn did not do same-sex wedding receptions and refused to service them. If the inn had never gotten back to them, they may have never learned of the policy. Unofficially, these policies probably still exist and will continue to exist as some businesses.


    Right. I had read that someplace too. Just tried to refind but couldn't. But it seems to me this goes beyond outright refusal.

    Here I think is my issue from the Digger article:

    “What this settlement makes clear is that you can’t discourage and get away with it. Discouragement or any unequal treatment of LGBT customers is [legally] the same as an outright refusal,

    Now I can certainly see how "discouragement" by informing someone of your religion or politics could be viewed as intimating and thereby discriminatory. But on the other hand, here we are publishing lists of companies which support the right wing & boycotting chicken.

    Are we saying that we'd rather not know that ChicFilet doesn't like us? Is that what we just won?

    This is different than the Chick-fil-a controversy. This settlement does not prevent the inn from donating money to anti-gay organizations. This settlement does not prevent the inn owners from writing the newspaper or telling a TV interviewer that they are opposed to gay marriage and gay rights. This does not prevent them from discussing their opposition to gay rights in conversation or writing their elected officials to let them know of their opposition. They are free to do all those things. What this settlement prevents is using those words and their personal beliefs from denying service to customers who are gay or lesbian.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 2:26 AM GMT
    Give me a few minutes to read further because it seems to me they're not just talking about outright refusal. They're talking about discouraging. I think they are saying that you can't even say: well, you can have your wedding here though we don't approve of it. brb.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 2:31 AM GMT
    http://vtdigger.org/2012/08/23/same-sex-couple-aclu-vermont-prevail-in-discrimination-lawsuit-settlement-with-wildflower-inn/
    "According to the settlement, the Wildflower Inn was acting in good faith and in compliance with a 2005 decision by the Vermont Human Rights Commission that said that while no public establishment may refuse to serve a customer based on sexual orientation, the inn could advise potential customers of the owners’ Catholic beliefs....

    Dan Barrett, an attorney for ACLU-Vermont, said the settlement asserted that the 2005 decision was no longer valid.
    "

    I'll look some more but by that aren't they saying this isn't simply about outright refusal? But about expression?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 2:35 AM GMT
    http://www.aclu.org/blog/lgbt-rights-religion-belief/settlement-no-gay-reception-case-shows-public-businesses-do-not
    Says basically same. Says was fought because service was refused. but also says discouragement is same as refusal.

    "As part of the settlement agreement, Wildflower Inn agreed that Vermont’s public accommodations law prohibits... discouraging those couples from using the facilities."

    So then why is telling someone that you don't like gays, that you don't believe in marriage for gays any different for a hotel than it would be for a restaurant?

    Here are attached legal docs. Will review
    http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/baker-and-linsley-v-wildflower-inn
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 2:52 AM GMT
    Iceblink said... What this settlement prevents is using those words and their personal beliefs from denying service to customers who are gay or lesbian.


    How it looks to me is that they can't even do this while not denying service.

    In other words, by fair housing standards, you can't say to someone: we'll rent to you, a gay person, but we don't like gay people. You can't even mention that they're gay.

    But isn't that what chickfilet has done? They're not refusing service but they are vocally discouraging. What is the difference?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 2:55 AM GMT
    theantijock saidhttp://www.aclu.org/blog/lgbt-rights-religion-belief/settlement-no-gay-reception-case-shows-public-businesses-do-not
    Says basically same. Says was fought because service was refused. but also says discouragement is same as refusal.

    So then why is telling someone that you don't like gays, that you don't believe in marriage for gays any different for a hotel than it would be for a restaurant?

    Here are attached legal docs. Will review
    http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/baker-and-linsley-v-wildflower-inn

    These are not words of their beliefs on their own. These are words of their beliefs used to deny customers equal treatment and to refuse service. In your own link of the attached legal docs, there is another link discussing ramifications of other cases and in all those cases, the people involved were refused service because they were gay or lesbian. This case is not like Chick-fil-a. That is not a legal concern, but only not giving business to a company that works against us politically.
    http://www.aclu.org/blog/lgbt-rights-religion-belief/settlement-no-gay-reception-case-shows-public-businesses-do-not
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 3:00 AM GMT
    Yes. read that.

    As you were posting, I edited to add above this from aclu:

    "As part of the settlement agreement, Wildflower Inn agreed that Vermont’s public accommodations law prohibits... discouraging those couples from using the facilities."

    So they are not talking about outright denial (though that was this case). They are saying that discouragement is denial.

    My point is that while discouragement might be intimidating so as to be denial, it is also informative. Otherwise we don't know who we are dealing with.

    And then there's the issue of practicality and maybe even some sanity. So you can't tell me to my face at the chicken counter that you don't like me but you can announce worldwide during a public television session of your company meetings? WTF
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 12:09 PM GMT
    theantijock saidYes. read that.

    As you were posting, I edited to add above this from aclu:

    "As part of the settlement agreement, Wildflower Inn agreed that Vermont’s public accommodations law prohibits... discouraging those couples from using the facilities."

    So they are not talking about outright denial (though that was this case). They are saying that discouragement is denial.

    My point is that while discouragement might be intimidating so as to be denial, it is also informative. Otherwise we don't know who we are dealing with.

    And then there's the issue of practicality and maybe even some sanity. So you can't tell me to my face at the chicken counter that you don't like me but you can announce worldwide during a public television session of your company meetings? WTF


    The Wildflower owners and others could still tip their hands without discouraging customers via their public accommodation ventures. They can participate in anti-LGBT protests, sponsor anti-LGBT group gatherings, sign petitions for public laws, acquire ads or promotion via anti-LGBT websites (Jitters and Bliss Coffee being the most recent example).

    Sure, it would take a little legwork for LGBT persons to recognize these activities by our local businesses. But these days, probably not much more than a Google session or two would reveal for us what we're dealing with so we can act (or not act) accordingly. It would not be practical for every business venture to have to openly and repeatedly declare their unyielding hospitality toward ((insert demographic here)). It would not be practical to go to every business venture to goad whatever bigoted views they have out of them. "Are you SURE you don't mind making those Rainbow cupcakes for my Party? And you'd better say yes. Or else, Pay Up!"

    The inn owners have learned that discouragement can be informative for us, but it (now) can also be expen$ive for them. And I trust they didn't go into their business venture to be informative.

    Wildflower Inn owners, if you really wanted to be a NOM all this time, be a NOM, not a B&B. Otherwise, do you take Visa or American Express?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 12:28 PM GMT
    From that ACLU link (thanks antijock):

    ACLUWithin a few minutes after she got off the phone, Channie received an email from the Wildflower Inn employee with the subject heading “bad news,” which informed her that Kate and Ming were not welcome at the Wildflower Inn.

    The email read in part: “After our conversation, I checked in with my Innkeepers and unfortunately due to their personal feelings, they do not host gay receptions at our facility.”


    That's a bit beyond, "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service." icon_lol.gif Turns out calling their response "discouragement" is being kind. "Discouragement" would have been, “After our conversation, I checked in with my Innkeepers and while their personal feelings are that Kate and Ming are committing a mortal sin and they would be too by hosting your reception, they will find a way to host it anyway, if you insist. So, will that be Visa or American Express?”
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Aug 24, 2012 12:37 PM GMT
    theantijock said
    HottJoe said
    theantijock saidNot sure how I feel about this. So if the inn hadn't turned away the lesbian couple but told them they don't approve of marriage for gay people then the lesbian couple would have supported the homophobes with their destination wedding dollars anyway? Or are they not allowed to let their customers know that they are homophobic? In which case wouldn't we want to know?


    Well they'd get sued if they discriminated over race or religion, which is the only reason they don't. They pretty much have to keep those prejudices to themselves. There was a time when they didn't have to. I think this will mean future gay couples will be accommodated without knowing how the owners feel about them. It's good because like it it not they'll get used to us.


    Yeah, I get that. But what if they cater the wedding with chicken?

    I think what my point is--and I haven't thought this out; it is just my initial gut reaction--is that while I easily agree of course that they shouldn't be able to discriminate, I'm not sure that declaring discouragement discrimination benefits if preventing that hides from us who we might be supporting with our consumer dollars.

    What you've done is taken the route of that shock jock someone posted, Stern? whatever, whereby it shouldn't matter what a company's politics are so long as they don't discriminate in the practice of their own business (though they may be taking those monies and funding policies which work to discriminate). And I don't know that we can yet afford that.


    The only way to be certain a businesses is for us, is when they make it clear by going above and beyond just being neutral. They need rainbow flags etc. Otherwise you really don't know what they do with the money.

    I like to support businesses that are on our side, but I also think it's good to not let the anti gay businesses get away with breaking laws. Even if they hate us politically, they can't refuse to serve us chicken, as it were. I could walk into Chic Fil A and my money would be good there. If they turned me away, I'd sue.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 4:53 PM GMT
    dayumm saidThe Wildflower owners and others could still tip their hands without discouraging customers via their public accommodation ventures. They can participate in anti-LGBT protests, sponsor anti-LGBT group gatherings, sign petitions for public laws, acquire ads or promotion via anti-LGBT websites (Jitters and Bliss Coffee being the most recent example).

    Sure, it would take a little legwork for LGBT persons to recognize these activities by our local businesses. But these days, probably not much more than a Google session or two would reveal for us what we're dealing with so we can act (or not act) accordingly. It would not be practical for every business venture to have to openly and repeatedly declare their unyielding hospitality toward ((insert demographic here)). It would not be practical to go to every business venture to goad whatever bigoted views they have out of them. "Are you SURE you don't mind making those Rainbow cupcakes for my Party? And you'd better say yes. Or else, Pay Up!"

    The inn owners have learned that discouragement can be informative for us, but it (now) can also be expen$ive for them. And I trust they didn't go into their business venture to be informative.

    Wildflower Inn owners, if you really wanted to be a NOM all this time, be a NOM, not a B&B. Otherwise, do you take Visa or American Express?


    You are so funny. Great outlook. But that really is a double edged sword and I think that's what I initially felt in my gut. I haven't rented in a very long time but I guess this is an issue people deal with all the time with fair housing standards.

    But again, when I relate it to the chicken incident, it's not just double edged but a little hypocritical or at least inconsistent. Though there's a lot of that in life. Also it leans towards a slippery slope. What's the difference between the hotel not telling you about their political leanings when they accept your reception deposit but then use the profits from your destination wedding dollars to host an anti-gay event on their grounds on the same day as your wedding? Are they allowed to spit in the rainbow cupcake batter too?

    I had never before considered this idea of discouragement as discrimination. And then where do you draw the line because we seem to be saying that it's only discouragement if we hear someone whisper it from behind their counter, but it is not discouragement if they announce it by megaphone. Discouragement is discrimination only when discreet? So what I want to know is: if they can intimidate us on a mass scale, why do we have to bother with a boycott when we should have grounds for a class action suit?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 5:02 PM GMT
    dayumm saidFrom that ACLU link (thanks antijock):

    ACLUWithin a few minutes after she got off the phone, Channie received an email from the Wildflower Inn employee with the subject heading “bad news,” which informed her that Kate and Ming were not welcome at the Wildflower Inn.

    The email read in part: “After our conversation, I checked in with my Innkeepers and unfortunately due to their personal feelings, they do not host gay receptions at our facility.”


    That's a bit beyond, "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service." icon_lol.gif Turns out calling their response "discouragement" is being kind. "Discouragement" would have been, “After our conversation, I checked in with my Innkeepers and while their personal feelings are that Kate and Ming are committing a mortal sin and they would be too by hosting your reception, they will find a way to host it anyway, if you insist. So, will that be Visa or American Express?”


    That's true and I understand this was about the actual denial of service. But ACLU is claiming, I believe by the hotel acknowledging fair housing standards, that denial isn't required to bring suit, but merely the discouragement itself which pits all sorts of things against each other: freedom of religion, of expression, anti-discrimination, et al. There's not a whole lot of room left on the tip of that pin.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 5:08 PM GMT
    no shirt, no shoes, no service is discriminatory. i hate shoes. so all of you that own a business out there, watch out. someday i will find a lawyer that will take my case.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 5:10 PM GMT
    HottJoe saidThe only way to be certain a business is for us, is when they make it clear by going above and beyond just being neutral. They need rainbow flags etc. Otherwise you really don't know what they do with the money.

    I like to support businesses that are on our side, but I also think it's good to not let the anti gay businesses get away with breaking laws. Even if they hate us politically, they can't refuse to serve us chicken, as it were. I could walk into Chic Fil A and my money would be good there. If they turned me away, I'd sue.


    I get that and it makes sense on a practical level, though we can have an idea as to where their money goes by their announcements, disclosures of public companies, who they back politically, sometimes religious associations of company principals, etc.

    But again. This isn't just about refusal though that's the most blatant form of discrimination. This is about discouragement being tantamount to refusal and then what can be considered discouragement as I outlined in previous posts.

    In other words, they can't refuse you chicken. They can't say directly to you at the counter, "this fresh & hot chicken sammich doesn't really like to be eaten by gay people but I'll grab you a cold one if you insist". But they can say over youtube, through an announcement of their religious views--which in fair housing standards cases are thrown out as frivolous when attempted to use to discriminate--that they hate gays. How is one discouragement but the other is not?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 6:15 PM GMT
    theantijock saidBut again, when I relate it to the chicken incident, it's not just double edged but a little hypocritical or at least inconsistent. Though there's a lot of that in life. Also it leans towards a slippery slope. What's the difference between the hotel not telling you about their political leanings when they accept your reception deposit but then use the profits from your destination wedding dollars to host an anti-gay event on their grounds on the same day as your wedding? Are they allowed to spit in the rainbow cupcake batter too?

    I had never before considered this idea of discouragement as discrimination. And then where do you draw the line because we seem to be saying that it's only discouragement if we hear someone whisper it from behind their counter, but it is not discouragement if they announce it by megaphone. Discouragement is discrimination only when discreet? So what I want to know is: if they can intimidate us on a mass scale, why do we have to bother with a boycott when we should have grounds for a class action suit?


    On this particular Wildflower case, the response to the customer via e-mail carried more weight in a legal sense than, hypothetically, whispering about their views from behind a counter once a transaction has been made. The owners' feelings were made explicit AND a service was going to be denied on this basis in hopes the customers would just saunter away. Suffice to say, their prayers were not answered! icon_razz.gif

    Not even counting Chick-fil-A, I think most of us have seen/heard the fast food horror stories of employees expressing how they feel about particular customers by tainting their food, for reasons well beyond perceived sexual orientation. (Last one I recall was people going apesh*t over the doufus BK employee who YouTubed himself pretending he was whizzing on people's food -- he was using Mountain Dew, got canned anyway). But in all those cases, the assumption is the food being tainted was the result of an accepted transaction between the seller and the customer. If they're caught doing stuff like that, the law will protect you on the basis of "you can't run a restaurant and taint food of customers you don't like," where the tainter's feelings/motivations don't matter.

    On the Chick-fil-A issue(s), if they used that megaphone to say, "we don't want your kind in, outside of, or anywhere near our stores!", they'd be in trouble (of the "pay up!" variety) with anyone who is denied service based on what declarations they made. Luckily for them, they have just enough legal sense to hide behind that "We love everybody in a Christian-y way!" facade.

    Corporately wishing us Left Behinds an eternity in Hades, while certainly "discouraging," doesn't matter under the law as long as any service they provide is materially the same as that service they provide to patrons they think will join them at the Pearly Gates.

    At the store level, if employees and/or managers were taking one pickle out of those scrumptious sandwiches in protest of whomever they suspect is "sexually deviant," AND THEY GET CAUGHT (the spitting in the cupcake parallel, albeit less extreme), then it's "pay up!" time... but only for the store manager, no matter what Cathy says/said about said deviants. If the manager can show he was directed from on-high (I mean Corporate, not Jeebus) to snatch back the pickles, then it's a whole different show.

    I'll touch more on the "discouragement" thing in reply to your next message. I agree, it is fascinating!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2012 6:54 PM GMT
    theantijock said
    dayumm saidFrom that ACLU link (thanks antijock):

    ACLUWithin a few minutes after she got off the phone, Channie received an email from the Wildflower Inn employee with the subject heading “bad news,” which informed her that Kate and Ming were not welcome at the Wildflower Inn.

    The email read in part: “After our conversation, I checked in with my Innkeepers and unfortunately due to their personal feelings, they do not host gay receptions at our facility.”


    That's a bit beyond, "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service." icon_lol.gif Turns out calling their response "discouragement" is being kind. "Discouragement" would have been, “After our conversation, I checked in with my Innkeepers and while their personal feelings are that Kate and Ming are committing a mortal sin and they would be too by hosting your reception, they will find a way to host it anyway, if you insist. So, will that be Visa or American Express?”


    That's true and I understand this was about the actual denial of service. But ACLU is claiming, I believe by the hotel acknowledging fair housing standards, that denial isn't required to bring suit, but merely the discouragement itself which pits all sorts of things against each other: freedom of religion, of expression, anti-discrimination, et al. There's not a whole lot of room left on the tip of that pin.


    I agree ACLU's statement needs some fine tuning. I can't tell you how many shopkeepers love to crow, "We can deny service to ANY one for ANY reason!" as a means to intimidate customers they don't think they'd like from approaching them, even going so far as to put signs up on the front doors/windows. Even without denying any particular person, the intention is to discourage potential customers from even trying to be accepted/denied. I believe the innkeepers were relying on this kind of mantra, and using a misinterpretation of the 2005 HRC decision as cover. "We can deny them as long as we use our 'personal feelings' to scare them off!"

    What I think ACLU should be indicating is you can declare your religious beliefs to your customers, but you cannot use those beliefs to discourage customers on the basis of (insert legally recognized and protected status here) from seeking your services.

    Wildflower might have saved themselves some dough had they said, "We admit we're not experienced in providing same-gender ceremonies like this, we're such bigtime Catholics up here, and you know how the Pope can be sometimes... but guess what, you'd be our first! The cake will need two brides on top, right?" The customers would still have the option to continue pursuing the services, or think twice and shop around some more. The customers' choice to leave would not be on the basis of the shopkeeper's personal feelings, but on the grounds that there might be a venue out there that has more experience than these Wildflower folks.

    As for where "the line" might be for CFA, I'm thinking of an ad that would go something like:

    "We just know you gays are on a one-way ticket to hell. But before you get there, why not stop in and chill up with one of these delicious hand-spun milkshakes? These frosty frappes are just $1.99 for you heathens. While supplies last, or until the Rapture, whichever comes first." icon_lol.gif Even if it was legal, it would be pretty bad for business.