Lesbian couple 'overwhelmed by anger' after being refused wedding by Christian venue
A lesbian couple has spoken out about their "anger" after being informed by the owners of a wedding venue that they would not be willing to host a same-sex marriage ceremony.
Per the Daily Star, Megan Watling, 25, and Sasha-Lee Heekes, 24, took to Facebook to slam Cape Town's exclusive Beloftebos Hotel after the bosses - who describe themselves as "Christians who seek to honor and obey God" - said they were unable to host the wedding due to their "personal beliefs".
Posting on January 16, Watling urged anyone who read her post not to support the business. The full post reads:
"After such a wonderful response to our engagement, we received this email this morning from Beloftebos.
"At first I cried, but then I was overwhelmed with anger. How, in 2020, is this still a reality? Same-sex marriage has been legal in South Africa since 2006, but yet people still believe that they can justify hate and bigotry and quote a God that I don’t believe would stand for said hate and bigotry.
"We do not ask that anyone approves or even accepts our love, but we do deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, just like anyone else.
"I implore that you do not support businesses that do not believe that love comes in all shapes and sizes.
"Please feel free to share."
Meghan attached a screenshot of the email they had received from the venue, which read:
"Meghan and Sasha-Lee
"Thanks for you mail and phone call and for taking the time to fill in the enquiry form. I apologise for the delay in answering your enquiry.
"Unfortunately we will not be able to host your wedding at Beloftebos on April 3rd 2021. The reason for that is that, based on our personal beliefs, we do not host weddings between couples of the same gender.
"In a media statement on our website we try to explain where we come from and why we have decided this. [...]
"May both of you really have a very blessed 2020. [sic]"
Meghan's post has since received more than 1,600 shares and over 4,900 comments - and it's safe to say the results have been mixed.
One commenter by the name of Emiel writes: "So are you saying you demand they accept your [beliefs], but you don't have to accept /respect theirs? Don't you think that's a bit hypocritical? [...]
"You believe gay marriage is normal. They believe it's unnatural perhaps. Who are you to dictate which is the ultimate truth?"
Another commenter, Lysandra Burger, responded: "This isn’t discrimination or bigotry or hate. This is a company who wants to use their business to honor God and by doing that they stand by the biblical marriage (one man and one woman). [sic]"
Whereas Facebook user Siobhan Gray writes: "This is DISCRIMINATION! Which is illegal in South Africa. If these bigots said this to people of a different religion, race, etc. it would be wrong and illegal, same as it is wrong and illegal to discriminate against persons sexual orientation!"
Michael Swain a spokesman for Beloftebos revealed that the couple was turned down because the hotel's orthodox Christian owners believe marriage is between "one man and one woman."
A statement on the venue's official website says: "We, the owners of Beloftebos are Christians who seek to honour and obey God in everything we do, including the way in which we operate our business.
"While the venue is available to people of all race, our Biblical conviction is that marriage is reserved for a life-long commitment between one man and one woman."