Same-sex couple banned from renting Illinois reception hallAround the Nation, Top Highlights Thursday, July 5th, 2012
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.
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