A wedding venue in North Carolina rejected a same-sex couple because of its “Christian values”.
Brianna May and her fiancée Kacey Mayfield were planning their dream wedding when an ugly email from a potential venue burst their bubble.
“We do not host same sex marriage ceremonies,” read the message, seen in a screenshot shared by May on Facebook Wednesday (21 December), apparently from The Warehouse on Ivy in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
May captioned the image: “If you’re wondering how wedding planning is going… thanks so much to The Warehouse on Ivy for letting us know we’re not welcome.”
The post was shared over 1,400 times on Facebook and included the venue’s email address. Many commenters later shared screenshots of their own emails to the venue in support of the couple, slamming their bigoted practises.
North Carolina has a chequered past with LGBT+ rights.
Sadly, North Carolina is one of 27 US states that currently have no state laws protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sexuality or gender identity.
In 2016, lawmakers introduced a controversial anti-LGBT+ law called HB2, which overturned previous anti-discrimination protections for LGBT+ people. This means that businesses in North Carolina are allowed to refuse service on the basis of someone’s sexuality or gender identity.
Mike Meno, a spokesperson for the ACLU of North Carolina, said the law “flies in the face of democracy”.
He added: “They essentially said it’s OK to discriminate against LGBT+ people, to turn them away from businesses, to fire them because of who they are or who they love.”
The venue shared a statement with local news outlet The Herald.
“We will allow anyone of any colour, race, religion or belief to use our venue at any given time,” it read.
“Although we love and respect everyone in our community, their own decision making and beliefs, we also strongly believe in our Christian values.”
Yelp has reportedly had to disable comments on the venue’s profile because of a spike in comments and reviews.
People have also taken to Google reviews of the venue to express their disgust. Over a third of the reviews now contain the word “discriminatory”.
May’s partner, Kasey Mayfield, responded to the Facebook post saying: “Brianna and I would like to thank everyone who had kind and supportive words for us.
“To everyone with recommendations, we can’t wait to look through them and continue planning our wedding and share them with other queer couples facing the same obstacles.”
She also encouraged other commenters and viewers of the post to write to their local legislators asking for protections for LGBT+ people from discrimination.
Some other wedding vendors joined the conversation to offer the couple free or heavily discounted services.