ACLU lawsuit says Vermont inn turned away lesbian wedding party

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 19, 2011 3:59 PM
ACLU lawsuit says Vermont inn turned away lesbian wedding party

BOSTON (Reuters) - A Vermont resort boasting idyllic surroundings for weddings came under fire on Tuesday after it was accused of turning away a lesbian couple looking to host their reception at the country getaway, a lawsuit said.

According to the complaint, Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vermont refused to host a wedding reception for New York couple Kate Baker and Ming Linsley because of the owners' personal bias against same-sex couples.

It was Linsley's mother who was told the inn does not host "gay receptions," particularly stinging to a mom trying to help her daughter plan the special day, the couple said.

According to the suit, at least two other couples have been turned away by the resort in the past 12 months.

The suit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Vermont, said state law on the books since 1992 prohibits denying access to public accommodations, like the inn, based on sexual orientation.

Baker and Linsley said they filed the complaint, in part, to prevent future discrimination and to raise awareness about the laws designed to protect people if it does.

Their wedding, now slated for the fall at an undisclosed location, remains a happy occasion, despite the controversy.

"It didn't dampen our spirits about the wedding for long," Baker said.

Owners of the 24-room Wildflower Inn did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

(Reporting by Lauren Keiper; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Cynthia Johnston)