Wedding planner Lana Rusev recently turned down Melissa and Jennifer McCord who wanted to hire her company Simply Elegant Wedding Planning in Jacksonville, Florida.
Melissa received a letter from Rusev that reportedly said:
"After checking our booked events I have discovered that we are booked on the 30th & 31st and unfortunately are not able to take additional events for the weekend. Also, due to my strong personal belief I do not feel comfortable planning a wedding for lesbian couples. I hope you understand and not take this personally. I am really sorry for the inconvenience this may cause."
"I can't help, but take it personal," Melissa told First Coast News (video below). "That was the first time I had ever to my face been discriminated against and it was kind of hurtful."
"There are other wedding planners who are okay with doing this," countered Rusev, who self-identifies as a Christian. "Take your business elsewhere."
Melissa stated, "Just send me an email and say, 'Hey, we were overbooked.' Don't throw your belief in my face that you won't do it because of what we are. My money is just as green as everybody else's."
Melissa and Jennifer were married on January 10 with 60 other couples when same-sex marriage became legal in Florida per a federal judge's ruling, but Melissa says they are planning their own wedding on Oct. 30 of this year.
"If I hurt anyone I apologize, but that is my personal belief," stated Rusev, who was born in the Ukraine. "We all are entitled to our beliefs."
However, Rusev condemned those who expressed their beliefs on her company's Facebook page:
"I am not afraid to stand for what I believe. I will continue to stand my ground and not be bullied. Our Facebook has been swarmed by discriminating comments and negative reviews. 26 years ago my family and I fled a country that persecuted Christians for their belief. It’s really sad to see American becoming more and more like theses countries that so many of us once fled.”