Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gay couple wins human rights battle after reservation cancelled at Christian Bed & Breakfast

GRAND FORKS, B.C. - The owners of a now-closed bed and breakfast in southern B.C. must pay more than $4,000 for refusing a room to a homosexual couple.

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ordered Susan and Les Molnar to compensate Brian Thomas and Shaun Eadie for injury to dignity and self-respect after their reservation was cancelled at the Riverbend Bed and Breakfast in Grand Forks, about 500 kilometres east of Vancouver.
The Molnars admitted to accepting the reservation in June 2009, but cancelled it minutes later, after confirming Thomas and Eadie are gay.
According to the Molnars, such a lifestyle is contrary to their Christian beliefs and unacceptable in the business they operated as a ministry, with some profits going to the local Mennonite church.
The human rights tribunal says although the Riverbend was run out of a portion of the Molnar's home, it was still a commercial activity, subject to laws preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Thomas and Eadie each claimed $2,500 dollars for loss of self-respect, but the tribunal has ordered to Molnars to pay each man $1,500, as well as travel expenses and wages lost while attending last year's two day hearing in Kelowna.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gay cruise ship turned away by Morocco docks in Spain

The cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam, on its present voyage catering to a gay clientele, docked Sunday in the southern Spanish port of Malaga after Moroccan authorities prohibited it from making its scheduled port of call in Casablanca.

The vessel, carrying 1,564 passengers and 869 crewmembers, docked about 7:25 a.m. and was scheduled to depart from Malaga later in the day, Malaga Port Authority spokesmen told Efe.

The RSVP Vacations travel agency, which specializes in organizing tourist trips for gay and lesbian customers, said Saturday in a letter to its clients that its agent in the port of Casablanca had reported that "the authorities have cancelled the scheduled July 1 visit despite having previously confirmed it."

The agency said that they considered this to be "disappointing news" and added that the decision was made after the "visit of a gay cruise ship" turned into "a public and potentially controversial matter."

The ship, which belongs to the U.S. company Holland America Line, had scheduled a program for its stay in Casablanca that included a visit to the Hassan II Mosque and to several souks - or traditional marketplaces - in the city.

After the stop in Casablanca, which had been supposed to last for about 12 hours, the cruise ship was due to sail to Cadiz, also in southern Spain, and then to continue on to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands, then to the eastern Spanish city of Valencia and finally to end its journey in Barcelona.

Organizers emphasized the "historic welcoming tolerance for gay tourists" in Morocco, despite the fact that the religion - Islam - and the laws of the North African country punish homosexuality.