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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 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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