A Minnesota hunting club plans to help pay for a same-sex wedding on Aug. 29, which it originally refused to host when employees learned the couple is gay.
Cole Frey, 20, and Adam Block, 18, filed a complaint against LeBlanc’s Rice Creak Hunting and Recreation in Little Falls for turning down their venue request when they learned they were both male.
Frey said he called the club in February and learned the venue was free on his wedding date, but he didn’t disclose right away that he was marrying a man. Months later when the club learned they were both male, they said they couldn’t host the wedding.
“They told us they don’t condone same-sex marriage, and they wouldn’t be marrying us on their property,” Frey told the Star Tribune.
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On Aug. 1, 2013, marriage equality laws went into effect in Minnesota prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The couple contacted the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. According to a DHR investigation they got similar responses from the venue when they posed a potential customer.
“This is the first public accommodation case for the Department related to same-sex marriage, and it serves as a reminder that businesses may not deny services based on a person’s sexual orientation just as they can’t deny services on the basis of race or gender,” commissioner Kevin Lindsey said in a release.
The hunting club agreed to contribute about $8,500 to the couple’s wedding and issued an apology. It agreed to comply with nondiscrimination law in the future.
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“We made a mistake and we corrected it as quickly as possible,” LeBlanc’s attorney Paul Rogosheske said in a statement. “We did everything we could to remedy it. We wish them the best.”
Another couple booked their wedding date, so the couple still has to get married elsewhere.
“We kind of came to the conclusion, anyway, that we didn’t want to have it there because we didn’t want to be associated with them in that way,” Frey said.
Block and Frey will marry Friday at the Camp Ripley Chapel and will hold the reception at a private home.
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