Illinois Couple Fined $80,000 For Refusing to Host Same-Sex Wedding Ceremony
The Christian owners of an Illinois wedding venue were forced to pay over $80,000 in fines after refusing to host a same-sex wedding ceremony.
Jim and Beth Walder, the owners of Timber Creek Bed & Breakfast in Paxton, Illinois, were fined by the state's Human Rights Commission, this week.
Despite the monstrous fee, Jim maintains he will never violate his religious beliefs.
""To be absolutely clear, we cannot host a same-sex wedding even though fines and penalties have been imposed by the Illinois Human Rights Commission," he said in a statement to the Ford County Record. "Our policy will not be changing."
In 2011, the Walders were approached by Todd and Mark Wathen who expressed interest in having a wedding at the B&B.
Jim Walder responded with an email saying that they could not accommodate the request because "homosexuality is immoral and unnatural based on what the Bible says about it."
"If that is discrimination, I guess we unfortunately discriminate," Jim's email to the Wathens reportedly stated.
The Walders are to pay $15,000 a piece to Todd and Mark for emotional distress as well as $50,000 in attorneys' fees and $1,218.35 in costs, Reuters reports.
The Walders could face additional fines if they continue to decline to host same-sex weddings at their venue.
"We are not looking for a fight, but when immoral laws are purposely passed (or deemed constitutional) that blatantly conflict with God's Word and when the heavy hand of government tries to force us as Christians to embrace sinful behavior, we have a moral obligation to resist and stand for Biblical truth," said Jim. 'It is better to obey God than men.' Acts 5:29."
A statement was released on the company's website explaining in detail why the Walden's are sticking with their decision.
"God's Word is the ultimate authority, infallible, and unchanging," the statement reads. "Consequently, we cannot host civil unions or gay marriages at Timber Creek Bed & Breakfast. It is not an issue of fairness or equality, but an issue of right and wrong. We cannot be part of what God condemns."