Religion

Christian Bridal Shop Denies Lesbian Wedding Dress

| by Michael Allen
Lesbian Wedding CardLesbian Wedding Card

The W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, refused to sell a wedding dress to a lesbian couple on July 8.

Julie Ann Samanas and Shannon Kennedy wanted to buy a dress for Samanas to wear during their nuptials in March 2018, but the Christian-owned store turned the couple down, notes Philadelphia Gay News.

Samanas recalled the incident to the news site: "We filled out the form that said 'Bride’s name,' 'Budget' and then where it said 'Groom,' we crossed it out and wrote 'Bride' and put Shannon's name down."

Kennedy said they handed the form to a shop worker: "[The employee] said, 'I don’t know if you've heard, but we're Christian and we don't believe in that; our faith doesn’t let us believe in that.'"

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After being refused service because of their sexual orientation, Samanas and Kennedy left the store.

"I think we were kind of in shock," Kennedy added. "We all looked at each other and went, 'Oo-k' and walked out. It was unexpected. Afterwards, you think of everything you should have said."

The W.W. Bridal Boutique would not comment to Philadelphia Gay News.

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Samanas wrote about the incident in a July 8 Facebook post: "I'll gladly take my money some where else, when a business won't allow you to try on wedding dresses simply because you're gay. Join me in 2017..."

,The bridal shop posted a message on Facebook on July 11, but it has since been removed, according to Philadelphia Gay News:

The owners of W.W. Bridal Boutique reserve the rights afforded to them by the First Amendment of the Constitution to live out our lives according to our faith. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." We will continue to serve our customers based on the tenets of our faith.”

"I grew up about 20 minutes from there and I think about 90 percent of the people who commented were straight people I went to high school with, which is awesome," Kennedy told Philadelphia Gay News. "We had about 300 shares of our post, and I think we only saw two negative things."

Rich Penkoski, a West Virginia-based pastor who operates the wedding shop's Facebook page, told The Christian Post that the store received threats and closed its doors to the public, although it does accept appointments.

The wedding shop's co-owner Victoria Miller explained to HuffPost why the lesbian couple were denied service:

We have provided formalwear for our customers from all walks of life, including the LGBTQ community. We have always served everyone with respect and dignity. It is just this event, a same-sex marriage, which we cannot participate in due to our personal convictions. We simply ask that we be given the same ability to live our lives according to our convictions.

The store also turned away a lesbian couple in 2014, ThingProgress notes.

Sources: Philadelphia Gay News, Julie Ann Samanas/Facebook, The Christian Post, HuffPost, ThinkProgress / Photo Credit: Luna Jubilee/!bang poses/Flickr, Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr (2)

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