Tribunal for Riverbend B&B owners begins

Owners of a bed and breakfast in Grand Forks were at B.C. Human Rights Tribunal last week in Kelowna.

Local owners of a bed and breakfast were at B.C. Human Rights Tribunal last week in Kelowna for turning away a homosexual couple in 2009.

The incident began when Shaun Eadie booked a single-bedroom for himself and his partner, Brian Thomas, at the Riverbend Bed and Breakfast in June 2009 with owner Susan Molnar.

Eadie and Thomas received a phone call soon after from Les Molnar asking the couple if they were gay, in which Eadie responded yes.

The owner cancelled the reservation and the couple filed a complaint shortly after the phone call.

Last Monday, Les explained to the tribunal he and his wife began their bed and breakfast to share their home with visitors in accordance to their Christian belief.

The owners argued their Charter of Rights to freedom of religion and association should protect their decision in denying Eadie and Thomas business, and submitted an application to have the complaint dismissed last year.

In March 2010, tribunal member Murray Geiger-Adams rejected the request for dismissal.

Ronald Smith, Molnar’s attorney, was unavailable to comment.

Tribunal chair Bernd Walter stated it could take up to a month before a decision is reached.

The tribunal was originally slated for June 2011, but Eadie and Thomas’s lawyer had fallen ill.