Same-sex couple in Florence alleges denial of wedding venue

Same-sex couple in Florence alleges denial of wedding venue

FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) - A Florence couple said they were denied the use of a wedding venue because they're gay.  Right now there is not a law clarifying who is right or wrong, but that could all change soon.

The couple was in complete shock, claiming the wedding venue is discriminating against them.

"We got engaged in October and our wedding day is December 30th," said Crystal Wilson.

She and her partner were excited for their big day, finding what they thought was the perfect location: Ava's Place in Florence.

"We went and looked at it, shook hands with him, spoke with him and spoke with him about it, and he gave us detail about it, then he just said, 'Calll me back when you have a date planned'," Wilson said.

A month later, she called the owner back to let him know what date they wanted but found out he would not allow them to get married in his barn.

"It was because we were a same-sex marriage that he wasn't comfortable with that, that he wasn't going to let us use his venue," Wilson said.

The owner pointed to his personal belief, saying it goes against what the Bible says. Wilson was shocked.

"It really upset me. I cried, I got upset because this is the first time I've came in any kind of contact with my sexual preference or relationship preference being a problem, so this is new to me," she said.

Right now, the U.S. Supreme Court is deciding on this issue with the case out of Colorado involving a baker denying service to a gay couple there.

"The argument in that case would be the same argument in this case: religious freedom versus equal protection," said attorney Mark McDaniel, who is the legal analyst for WAFF 48 News.

McDaniel said the highest court has recently heard arguments from both sides. This again is over the first and 14th Amendments.

"The people who have the wedding could say no. The people who they denied could file a lawsuit against them, but I would say that the best thing to do is wait because in a month or six weeks, you're going to have a ruling on the Colorado wedding cake case and that will be dispositive on this issue," McDaniel said.

"I don't think anyone should turn anyone down just because of their preference. We weren't putting it in his face or saying he has to marry a man or anything or putting our beliefs on him. It's just our day and he could of just taken our money and just let us have our day then went on about it," Wilson said.

Ava's Place's owner said he didn't want to comment other than saying he respects this couple but has to choose his religious beliefs.

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