The owner of the Christian-owned TimberCreek Bed and breakfast are going to have to pay the $80,000 fine after a three-member from the Illinois Human Rights Commission composed of Commissioners Patricia Bakalis-Yadgir, Terry Cosgrove, and Duke Alden declined to review the earlier recommendation of Judge Michael R. Robinson. Judge Robinson found that Jim Walder, who owns the B&B declined the civil rights of Todd and Mark Wathen after he refused to have their wedding on his property.
The one-page document which was given to the attorneys of both parties states that "The parties are hereby notified that the administrative law judge's recommended order and decision, entered on March 22, 2016, has become the order of the commission."
The ruling given by Robinson has shown that the Human Rights Commission is sending a message to all business owners that they cannot deny their customers service based on their sexual orientation. As early as 2011, Jim Walder has already stated that he will not let gay weddings be hosted at TimberCreek as long as he is the owner.
But Walder, who is a devout Christian, stated that he did not want to seem hateful or homophobic when he denied the couple, but what he wanted was not to compromise his religious views.
"We do not hate gays," Walder reiterated this week. "We are not homophobic or bigoted. We do not prohibit homosexuals from visiting TimberCreek. Some have. We are respectful and kind to all of our guests. We draw the line, however, at hosting gay marriages."
Jim Walder also expressed his disappointment with the ruling of the panel, and said that it was fixed from the very beginning since two of the three-member panel were very active in LGBT rights. Walder said that Commissioners Cosgrove and Alden should have excused themselves from the case. Cosgrove was a leader in the Gay Illini group at University of Illinois and was also inducted in the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame while Alden is a co-chair for the LGBT Working Group of the governor.
Jim Craddock, Walder's attorney said that they will be appealing to the entire commission and even the Appellate Court if needed.