N Carolina wedding venue rejects lesbian couple as it doesn't host same-sex ceremonies over 'Christian values'

The state doesn't provide explicit state protections or federal legislation banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination in public accomodations


                            N Carolina wedding venue rejects lesbian couple as it doesn't host same-sex ceremonies over 'Christian values'
(Getty Images)

Newly engaged couple Kasey Mayfield and Brianna May made waves on social media after sharing a recent email exchange they had with an employee at a North Carolina wedding venue. Mayfield mentioned in her email the potential wedding dates, the estimated number of guests, and the "other bride." The venue subsequently responded saying that The Warehouse on Ivy in Winston-Salem does “not host same-sex marriage ceremonies," NBC News reported.

“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,” Mayfield wrote alongside a screenshot of the exchange, which gained thousands of 'shares' online.



 


“I was kind of speechless,” Mayfield told the outlet of reading the email. “I just had to like hand the phone over to Bri when I got it.”

“I had hoped that this wouldn't happen in North Carolina, but I thought there was a chance it may. I didn't expect it from a venue in Winston,” she added. The 25-year-old has lived in the area for the past 10 years. Meanwhile, her 29-year-old bride-to-be was born and raised in Winston-Salem.

The couple reportedly met on the dating app Bumble two years ago and got engaged last month. They had just started planning for their wedding, scheduled for 2022, and first heard of The Warehouse on Ivy through Wedding Wire, an online wedding resource.

The venue did not directly tell May and Mayfield why it wouldn't host same-sex weddings. However, the same email account elaborated on the same in an exchange with NBC News. “We will allow anyone of any color, race, religion, or belief to use our venue at any given time,” the email stated. “Although we love and respect everyone in our community, their own decision-making and beliefs, we also strongly believe in our Christian values.”

A state like North Carolina doesn't provide much legal recourse for the LGBTQ community, considering there are no explicit state protections or federal legislation banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination in public accomodations. “North Carolina has no state law on public accommodations not related to disabilities and no anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT identity,” Rick Su, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, told NBC News. “Given there is no federal law protecting LGBT [people] either, this would mean that the wedding venue is free to discriminate.”

Mayfield and May "aren't considering legal action at this time," but the former said they are “urging our friends to email legislators to help try and pass discrimination laws for LGBTQ people.”

The couple also wants to notify the local LGBTQ community about The Warehouse on Ivy's policies. “We have a lot of gay friends in our circle, so I wanted to hopefully save people the time and, kind of, hurt and energy, from getting rejected based on our sexual orientation,” May told the outlet, explaining why they went public about the ordeal. However, aside from receiving “kind and encouraging words,” the couple has reportedly also received several helpful wedding tips and offers. “We've gotten so many wonderful recommendations for other vendors and venues, and we've had people offering services,” May added.

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