A gay Houston couple was evicted from a Galveston bed and breakfast last weekend after the owner realized the men were gay and ran afoul of her “straight friendly” rental.
Jonathan Wang (image) and partner Brent Matl said they found the rental on Airbnb, booked it for a two-night stay to attend a friend's wedding and after arriving on April 24, the owner booted them out.
After unpacking their bags and heading to the wedding reception, they returned to the bed and breakfast and began speaking to the owner.
“Heather asked me, where my wife was. Who is this person? I said it was my significant other Brent. She said I thought you were bringing a wife. I said I didn't say that specifically. I said is that going to be OK? She said. It's not,” said Wang.
Wang said the hosts told them to get out. He said he began packing his things.
“She also commented while we were going upstairs that was their bedroom upstairs so they were even more uncomfortable with it,” said Wang.
The owner, identified only as Heather in news accounts, didn't back down when confronted over the eviction, telling KTRK that “I'm completely of my legal realms and morals.” Wang later realized that he overlooked a mention on the Airbnb listing that says the home is “straight friendly.”
The rental website reacted quickly, condemning the host's actions, removing her from its site and refunding the cost of the rental. Airbnb also reimbursed the couple for their new accomodations.
“We have a zero tolerance policy for discrimination on Airbnb,” the spokesperson said in a prepared statement. “Airbnb has clear guidelines that a host or a guest may not promote hate or bigotry.”
Texas Wins, a coalition that supports LGBT nondiscrimination protections, applauded Airbnb for taking swift action.
“Bravo to Airbnb for doing the right thing,” Christina Gorczynski, Texas Wins campaign director, said in a statement. “This is yet another example of companies leading the way on equality for all customers. They know discrimination – like what was on display this past weekend in Galveston – is bad for business. It’s time Texas catch up to corporate America by adopting our own statewide zero tolerance policy for discrimination against gay and transgender Texans.”
[image via KTRK]