Couple Alleges Wedding Venue Turned Them Away
Two men, Monico Ramirez and Jonathan Luna, allege they were turned away from Grace Gardens in El Paso, Texas as a venue for their wedding reception because they are gay. A staff member confirms this, but said other factors were involved.
Ramirez told the television news program KFOX 14 that after touring Grace Gardens and going over contracts the attitude of his guide changed.
"By the time [the employee] knew it was going to be for a same-sex reception, she just, uh, looked at us weird..." Ramirez said. "She took us to a lobby, and told us she had to go speak with a manager, we stayed there 15 minutes."
Ramirez claims that after speaking to her manager, the employee came back and said, "I'm sorry guys, but we are not allowed to have any services for same-sex marriage.' "
"They made me feel bad 'cause there was another couple there, but there was, like, a regular couple there," Luna added, "and they gave them the packages and everything."
After the story aired on television, the venue owner, Sandra Rodriguez, released a statement. She explained that Grace Gardens would not host a same-sex wedding ceremony, but that the men were in no way mistreated. They received the same tour as anyone else.
"At the commencement of the tour," reads the statement as cited by Queerty, "the gentlemen informed our sales associate that they were looking for a place to host a wedding ceremony, and they affirmatively stated that the female bride was out of town. It wasn't until the tour was almost completed that the gentlemen inquired as to whether Grace Gardens allowed 'wild parties with strippers.' It was this question that garnered the 'weird' look described by Mr. Ramirez."
"After responding that she would have to ask management for the answer," the statement continues, "the gentlemen revealed that they were actually a same-sex couple seeking to have their ceremony and wild party with strippers at Grace Gardens.
"Nothing regarding the treatment of Mr. Luna and Mr. Ramirez can be viewed as anything other than courteous and respectful. While some may disagree with its policies, Grace Gardens was at all times honest with Mr. Luna and Mr. Ramirez. The same cannot be said for their actions."
In June, a gay couple made discrimination complaint against a Colorado bakery, because the business refused them a wedding cake. They alleged that the owners have a history of turning away same-sex couples.
The attorney and one of the owners of Masterpiece Cakeshop is quoted to have defended their actions by saying, "I just don't think that we should heighten one person's beliefs over and above another person's beliefs."