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Same-sex couple banned from renting Illinois reception hall

Taylor Shumaker

Moline, Ill. (CNN) – An Illinois same-sex couple says they were banned from possibly renting a Moline, Ill. reception hall last week, because they are gay.

The manager of the University Club in downtown Moline told WQAD-TV that she refused to let the couple see or rent the space for a reception because of her religious beliefs.

Taylor Shumaker says she called the University Club to inquire about the place. Bar Manager Kristen Stewart offered to give Shumaker a tour and asked if her fiancé would be coming.

“And she asked if ‘he’ would be coming and I just said no, it’s not actually a ‘he.’ It’s a ‘she,’ and she said excuse me?” recounted Shumaker.

“I said, it’s a woman, and she said ‘oh, we don’t rent to homosexual couples.’”

Shumaker said she was more hurt than angry.

“I cried when I got off the phone because, honestly, I wouldn’t have called there if I knew it was their policy. If it would have been on the Web site from the very beginning, I wouldn’t have wasted my time. She just said it was a religious belief. That was the end of the conversation.”

In a phone interview with WQAD, Stewart says it is all true, and defended her right to refusal.

“I am a biblical Christian and I do not believe in homosexual marriage, that’s correct,” said Stewart. “And because marriage is a covenant that God created for man and woman, as a biblical Christian, I cannot help them into or celebrate that sin.”

John Knight, with the Illinois ACLU, says the denial was a violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Meanwhile Shumaker and her partner of three years are looking elsewhere for a place to celebrate their future marriage, saying they are simply moving on to where they are wanted.

Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=26221

Posted by LGBT Weekly on Jul 5, 2012. Filed under Around the Nation, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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