Vermont Innkeepers Pay $30,000 for Refusing Lesbian Couple



The Roman Catholic owners of a Vermont bed-and-breakfast inn agreed this week to pay a total of $30,000 to a lesbian couple that wanted to hold same-sex wedding reception on their property.

In exchange for the payment, the Vermont Human Rights Commission agreed that the O’Reilly family, who own the Wildflower Inn, acted in good faith. In 2005, the commission approved their business practice — which is to disclose to all potential customers their religious convictions while serving everyone. The O’Reillys will pay $20,000 to a trust fund the women set up, and $10,000 to the Human Rights Commission.

The lawsuit was filed by the ACLU of Vermont in 2011, after Katherine Baker and Ming-Lien Linsley contacted the inn about their reception. A former employee falsely told them the O’Reillys wouldn’t allow it to be held on their property, then tried to steer the women toward her personal business.

Jim O’Reilly said his family was settling the case to end the ordeal and preserve their business.