Vermont wedding venue bars lesbian couple

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A lesbian couple from New York City are suing a Vermont inn for refusing to host their wedding party.

Kate Baker and Ming Linsley said they were “saddened” and “shocked” when the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville turned them away last autumn after the owners realised they were lesbians.

Devout Catholics Jim and Mary O’Reilly said they had never refused gay couples food or accommodation but did not feel they could celebrate a same-sex union “because it goes against everything that we as Catholics believe in”, AP reports.

Ms Linsley’s mother Channie Peters was organising the venue and used the Vermont Convention Bureau for help. The Wildflower Inn then contacted the bureau to offer its services. But when Ms Peters said the couple were lesbians, the inn’s meeting and events director apologised and said the owners would refuse to host the event.

Although the couple managed to find an alternate venue, they say they want to take legal action because the refusal was against the law.

They are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit on their behalf this week.

Joshua Block, a staff attorney at the ACLU, said: “The law is clear that any business that provides a service to the public can’t pick and choose who they want to serve based on the customer’s race, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

“If we allow one group of people to be singled out and denied basic rights and service, we are violating the basic American values of justice and fairness for everyone.”