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US: Art gallery refuses to host gay wedding, citing ‘religious beliefs’ as the reason

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An art gallery just outside of Des Moines, in the US state of Iowa, has refused to allow a gay couple to hold their wedding at the venue, citing religious beliefs.

The Gortz House advertises itself as “the perfect venue for your wedding ceremony,” however Lee Stafford, and his fiance Jared said they were turned away when they asked to hold their wedding ceremony there, reports ThinkProgress.

Speaking to KCCI-TV, gallery owner Betty Odgaard said: “That decision was based on our religious beliefs. We want to honour that. We want people to know that is our stand that comes from our faith and convictions. I think we should just stand by that no matter what… Can I have my beliefs without being ostracised for that? I think that I have my right too, to stand firm to my convictions and beliefs.”

Gay rights supporters have noted that Odgaard is entitled to believe whatever she wishes, and the law does not prohibit that, but denying a service based on a couple’s sexual orientation breaches the state’s anti-discrimination law.

The law prohibits discrimination in public accommodations.

Stafford says he intends to file a complaint at the Civil Rights Commission of Iowa.

Odgaard said that since denying the couple the right to hold their wedding at her venue, she has received “hateful, hurtful and threatening emails.”



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